Mikal Bridges consecutive regular season game streak is nearing 400 — 392 to be exact. Add another 39 playoff games to the total. And that’s just the NBA. He also played 116 games straight for Villanova. He did miss a game his junior year in high school and a couple of preseason games his rookie year in Phoenix.
But as he told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated in an interview published Monday, it almost ended in March vs. Charlotte when he hurt his wrist so badly he feared he’d broken it.
“I had a couple things,” Bridges told Mannix. “I think one game in Charlotte this year when I was in Brooklyn, I think I landed on my wrist, something happened in the wrist. It kind of went away and when I lifted, everything was fine. Then I got home at night and I just started getting this big heartbeat feeling on my shooting hand. All night I couldn’t sleep. I had teammates in college that broke their hands. And I never did anything like that.
“And I was kind of nervous because it was so painful. I had to order freaking Tylenol and everything so I could calm it, so I could go to sleep. So that moment right there, I was nervous because I was just like, ‘Bro, if it’s broken, I have no choice.’ Then when I woke up next morning, it just all was my wrist. And then I was like, ‘O.K, let me get this looked at. If there’s nothing crazy, I’m just going to get it taped up and I’ll be all right.’ And that was the one point where I was nervous.”
Bridges also talked about pressure to keep the streak going ... and whether he would try to play through a serious injury to keep it going. He wouldn’t.
“I think [the streak] gets blown up just because of how many games it has been, but I don’t go off the streak,” he said. “I’m just more, I want to play. I just don’t want to miss a game regardless. Obviously if something’s serious, I won’t risk something wild to be out there. But it’s nothing to do with the streak. I think it’s just me personally. I just don’t want to miss a game no matter if I had a streak or not. I just never want to miss games. I just want to be out there every time and give my team a chance to try to win a game.”
As for how he’s been able to do it, Bridges noted the role of simple good fortune, but he also takes care of his body.
“I think I’ve just been blessed not to have any major injuries. I think that’s the biggest thing,” he told Mannix. “Other than that, just doing a lot of things to help prevent injuries. Injuries happen. You can’t control them, but you can help little things to help prevent them. Just trying to take care of my body, doing lifts and doing all different types of training just to build the muscles and to get my tendons and all that stuff.”
Indeed, when compared to the players the Nets lost at the deadline and teammate Ben Simmons, Bridges streak is extraordinary. Over the past four years, when Bridges was not on a single injury report, Kevin Durant missed 177 games, Kyrie Irving 151 and Simmons 157 out of 314.
Bridges also spoke of how the timing of his trade to Brooklyn was ideal in that he had filled in for Devin Booker in the weeks prior to the trade, going from the third option on the Suns to the first.
“I always tell people I got traded at the right time with having pretty much the whole team out and being the guy for about a month and just going through the pains and the gains and growth throughout every day. Having bad games and losing a lot to finally starting to get it going and start being efficient and trying to win games. And then once it kind of got to that and then that’s when I got traded. So it was perfect timing. I couldn’t have been traded at a better time,” he said.
He also had thoughts on what the Nuggets championship means, mainly that chemistry matters because patience is often a forgotten virtue in the NBA.
“It takes time. Sometimes you might see stars get together and it might not work, and then owners or GMs are quick to move on. Or players might not win early and want to get out,” said Bridges without naming names.
“Chemistry really matters more now. And I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s just the chemistry. The chemistry you build throughout the years is always the biggest thing.
“And if you watch Denver, each player knows where each guy was going to be at. It was second nature for them. So it’s easy to play on the court with four guys out there knowing what everybody’s tendencies are and where they’re going to be. There’s no thinking. You just know that if I get blown by, that guy’s going to step up for me. If I do this and that, that guy is going to do that for me.”
Mannix spoke with Bridges as part of his latest promotion, with eBay on its Collectors Club in Brooklyn, a site for sports card enthusiasts to find missing pieces for their collection. He noted that as a kid how he would search eBay for cards of his favorites, “like Kevin Durant.”
- Mikal Bridges Reflects on Big Trades, Draft Night And His Impressive Playing Streak - Chris Mannix - Sports Illustrated