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matt bonner
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Pre-strain.
STRAINING TO UNDERSTAND

The NBA’s Matt Bonner thinks his elbow injury was caused by the iPhone 6

Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

In a recent interview with his hometown newspaper in New Hampshire, NBA power forward Matt Bonner covered a range of subjects, from how he’s spending the offseason to the basketball camp he runs at a local middle school. The story, published July 5 on the Concord Monitor’s website, also included this scoop: Bonner attributes his poor shooting form last season to a bout of “tennis elbow” he believes came from using his iPhone too much.

“You’re about to get an exclusive here,” Bonner told the Concord Monitor’s Tim O’Sullivan. “I hate to make excuses, I was raised to never make excuses, but I went through a two-and-a-half month stretch where I had really bad tennis elbow, and during that stretch it made it so painful for me to shoot I’d almost be cringing before I even caught the ball like, ‘Oh, this is going to kill.’ ”

Conner’s injury was to his left elbow, which he doesn’t use it to shoot. But the injury obviously wasn’t making things very comfortable for the San Antonio Spurs player. While Bonner was hurt, his shooting accuracy was about 32%, versus a career average that is closer to a much more impressive 46%.

The cause of the injury, Bonner thinks, was his iPhone 6:

“Everybody is going to find this hilarious, but here’s my theory on how I got it,” he said. “When the new iPhone came out it was way bigger than the last one, and I think because I got that new phone it was a strain to use it, you have to stretch further to hit the buttons, and I honestly think that’s how I ended up developing it.”

According to Bonner, one of the Spurs’ coaches had reported a similar issue after using his iPhone, and there are other claims that the iPhone 6 may cause muscle strains, particularly affecting the thumbs. But the idea that an NBA athlete at the height of fitness would be sidelined by his mobile phone raises several questions, namely:

  • How many hours a day were you using your iPhone?
  • Tennis elbow usually stems from repeated muscle contractions in the forearm—were you doing bicep curls with your iPhone 6?
  • Maybe you were just holding it wrong?
  • You’re 6’10” tall. Isn’t the real question whether the iPhone 6 is too small for an NBA player’s hands?
  • What’s more difficult: Covering LeBron James, or reaching the top-left app icon on your iPhone 6?
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