When you watch the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks take the floor on Thursday night, take a moment to soak in how these two teams stick it to Father Time. Tim Duncan is churning out double-doubles three weeks from his 38th birthday. Manu Ginobili, 36, ranks third at his position in PER. The 31-year-old Tony Parker remains one of the league's top floor generals in the NBA, and Boris Diaw, also 31, is playing his best ball since "Seven Seconds Or Less." Meanwhile, the Mavericks have some greybeards as well. Dirk Nowitzki, a 35-year-old 7-footer with more than 1,300 games on his NBA odometer, has missed just two outings this season. Jose Calderon, 32, and Vince Carter, 37, have sat out one game apiece. The younger guys have also stayed remarkably healthy.
By and large, their best players, no matter what age, have a clean bill of health.
So how do they do it? Welcome to the burgeoning world of injury prevention analytics.