One year ago, Nina Hsieh made history as the first female head athletic trainer of a championship team, both in the NBA and major professional sports in America, when the Lakers won the title in the bubble.
However, after a season where injuries piled up and the Lakers made a first-round playoff exit, Hsieh was not brought back for another season, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
Nina Hsieh, promoted to head trainer two years ago, did not have her contract renewed, sources told ESPN….
However, the Lakers’ repeat bid fell short with a first-round exit to the Phoenix Suns, with Anthony Davis (groin), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left knee) and Alex Caruso (ankle) all hampered in the series. This after a regular season in which LeBron James missed 26 of the Lakers’ final 30 games with a high right ankle sprain, Davis missed 36 games, and Los Angeles’ roster missed 201 games in total, according to Spotrac data.
It is the second time in the past three years the Lakers have parted ways with their head athletic trainer. Los Angeles let Marco Nunez go in April 2019 after three years at the helm after a season in which Lakers players lost 212 games because of injury.
Hsieh may not be the only trainer not brought back this offseason, but the rash of injuries suffered by the Lakers this season was far from unique to them. Soft tissue injuries were up across the league — something that has carried over into the playoffs — and even LeBron James himself blamed the short turnaround between seasons with a condensed season on top of it.
We don’t know the internal dynamics that led to Hsieh not being brought back, but the Lakers are reportedly making more changes as they alter their approach to health as an organization.