NBA Rules on Injured Players


The National Basketball Association (NBA) hosts a grueling 82-game season for all its teams. All teams will deal with injuries of its players during the course of this long season. Knee, ankle and back injuries cause players to have to sit out a game or two, or many more for more serious injuries. The NBA gives strict rules to the teams on how to deal with injured players.

Active List

NBA teams must maintain 12 active players on their roster during the regular season. Teams can carry 11 players on the active roster, but for no more than two consecutive weeks. When a player suffers an injury and cannot play, the team places him on the injured list, allowing another player to take his place on the active list. Teams must have at least eight players dressed and ready to play in a regular-season game.

Inactive List

NBA teams can carry a maximum of three players on its inactive list. Players in the past had to sit out at least five games when put on the inactive list because of injury. Today, an injured player can sit for a single game, then be eligible to play the next game.


An injured player must wear street clothes both during pregame warm-up and the game itself if the team has placed on the inactive list. The team can call up another player to replace the injured player for that game, and subsequent games if needed.


An NBA team still includes an injured player's salary in its team total salary, under the salary cap regulations. The exception would be if the player had to retire because of medical reasons resulting from the injury.