Los Angeles Lakers don’t renew contract of head trainer following injury-riddled season, sources say

The Los Angeles Lakers are on the market looking to hire a new head athletic trainer after injuries ravaged their 2020-21 season.

Nina Hsieh, promoted to head trainer two years ago, did not have her contract renewed, sources told ESPN.

Hsieh worked for the franchise for more than a decade, beginning as the head athletic trainer in charge of the health and wellness program for the Lakers’ G League affiliate, then working as an assistant trainer for the Lakers, before taking over as head athletic trainer for the purple and gold in August 2019.

She became the first woman head athletic trainer on a championship team in American major professional sports history when L.A. won the title in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida last October.

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 L.A.’s roster missed 201 games in total, according to Spotrac data.

It is the second time in the last three years the Lakers have parted ways with their head athletic trainer. L.A. let Marco Nunez go in April 2019 after three years at the helm following a season in which Lakers players lost 212 games because of injury.

Prior to Nunez, Gary Vitti served in the role for more than 30 years.

More changes are expected as the team is in the process of restructuring its approach to player health, sources told ESPN.

ESPN’s Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.


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