Ultimately, we do not know their habits, and some of it even comes to bad luck on Rose's part, and good fortune on Westbrook's. Yet, in examining their performances each night, what it seems to boil down to is the landing techniques of each.
As we mentioned in the breakdown, Rose consistently landed with a straight leg, not flexing his knee to allow the hip musculature to absorb the force. Because Rose was such an athletic player, coming down hard on a straight leg happened much too frequently, and ultimately, it added up.
Westbrook, on the other hand, although not perfect, lands correctly considerably more often than Rose. Most times, he will sink back into his hips, facilitating a much "softer" landing, as shown below:
Of course, not every landing will be perfect. In fact, a large number of landings for athletes the level of Rose and Westbrook will be in awkward positions. So, most players who have developed techniques to escape these awkward positions (that could potentially cause injury or place unneeded stress on the body), have remained much more healthy.
Watch as Westbrook, in the first two clips, falls purposely. In these situations, he feels that he is in a vulnerable position, and rather than attempting to balance himself, he simply falls. On the third and final clip, he rapidly shuffles his feet, allocating the force into multiple steps rather than one hard landing. Rose, on the other hand, did not develop these techniques, and consequently placed unneeded stress on his joints during many landings.
Another potential cause of Rose's injuries was his tendency to attempt an athletic, high-flying finish much too often, rather than using timing, his body, or a horizontal bound to finish. While finishing over taller defenders is definitely a part of Westbrook's game, Russ uses forward jumps to stretch past the defenders much more than Rose. This means a lower-impact landing, as well as a more controllable landing position, since his body position is not distorted with contact, 40 inches in the air. Pay attention to how easy his landings are:
Let us hear your thoughts below or on social media!