MILWAUKEE --- Three years ago, when he was at UCLA, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sustained a concussion that kept him off the basketball court for eight days, until he completed a series of neurocognitive tests.
That's why the Bucks forward was so surprised when all he needed to return this season following a mild concussion was simply his word to the training staff.
"I didn't have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here," Mbah a Moute said. "They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, 'You're fine.'"
Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made him think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.
"There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don't get as bad concussions as football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion," Mbah a Moute said. "It's a serious injury and there should be tests."
While league officials say con cussions are rare in the NBA, Milwaukee has dealt with a flurry of head injuries this season, highlighting the fact that the injuries can and do happen on the hardcourt. Mbah a Moute didn't sit out a game with his, though the Bucks listed the two other players who missed time this season as having "concussion-like symptoms." Carlos Delfino was out 32 games with what he said was, indeed, a concussion and Corey Maggette sat for two more.
The Bucks said they handle every head injury on a case-by-case basis, and general manager John Hammond said the team takes the issue seriously.
"Head injuries have now become a real hot-button issue in sports in general. And, I think that when a player is dealing with issues like this, we have to be concerned and well we should be," Hammond said.
The NBA and the players' union say they are monitoring head hits, but there hasn't been the same level of concern as in other sports such as hockey and football, in which concussions are more common.
According to league data obtained by The Associated Press in December, the number of concussions being reported this past season was up more than 30 percent from 2008. The league considered that proof teams and players were taking head injuries more seriously and being more open about them.