In Street Clothes...
by Jeff Stotts
RotoWire Injury Expert
As numerous NBA All-Stars and legends descend on Dallas for a weekend of festivities it won't be fun and games for everyone and it's not because of the freak snowstorm spreading cold weather across the state. Many players have been forced to pull out of the game due to injury and while some individuals, like Brandon Roy, will not even be in Dallas other stars like Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul will attend with athletic trainers added to their entourages.
The fans voted the Laker guard to his 12th All-Star appearance but a medley of injuries forced Bryant to pull out of the game. The 2009-2010 has been a rough season for the former MVP. Throughout the season he has battled through a fractured right index finger, occasional back spasms, and most recently a sprained left ankle. While the broken finger and back spasms limited his effectiveness and altered his shot, it was the turned ankle that ultimately ended Bryant's consecutive games played streak at 235. Bryant will fly to Dallas, accompanied by head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and hopes 10 days will allow for the ankle sprain to adequately heal. Treatment for the ankle will initially focus on controlling the edema or swelling and decreasing the associated pain. Vitti will then work with Bryant to retrain the muscles to adequately stabilize the ankle joint. Once the ankle can bear weight, the focus will shift to retraining the ligaments to respond to the various stresses placed on the joint by playing a NBA game. Bryant should be ready to play following the break.
The absence of the Black Mamba has had an effect on other Lakers as well. The team has played surprising well without their scoring leader, winning three straight games and forward Lamar Odom has elevated his game and subsequently boosted his fantasy value. In the three-game winning streak, Odom has averaged 17 points and an eye-popping 14.3 rebounds per game. Odom's impressive run may force Head Coach Phil Jackson to move the forward into the starting lineup. Fantasy owners will be glad to have Bryant back in the lineup while those who have hung onto Odom may finally see their patience begin to pay off.
Another reason for Odom's effectiveness has been the injury to center Andrew Bynum. In LA's first game without Kobe, Bynum played just nine minutes before leaving with a hip injury. The team is officially calling the injury a right hip bruise and has also hinted that the young center is battling hip bursitis. Bursae sacs are located within most joints and are filled with synovial fluid. These sacs act as a buffer, reducing friction within the joint where two structures like bone or ligaments rub together. When struck or following persistent overuse these sacs can become inflamed resulting in bursitis. The sacs can be drained to relieve the pain and swelling.
Another option the Lakers are said to be considering is a cortisone injection. Cortisone is a corticosteroid used to control inflammation in joints and musculoskeletal injuries. As the inflammation decreases so too does the pain associated with the injury. However multiple cortisone injections are often avoided because of the risk of potential problems like the weakening of tendons and cartilage damage. Which ever option the Lakers elect to utilize for the injury, expect Bynum to miss a couple more games dependent on the timing of the treatment. Odom will continue to benefit from Bynum's absence as will All-Star Pau Gasol.
Houston forward and former Laker Trevor Ariza is also dealing with a hip injury. Ariza is dealing with a painful hip pointer sustained in a recent loss to the 76ers. A hip pointer is actually a contusion to the iliac crest of the hip and the surrounding musculature. The iliac crest is the superior ridge of the ilium bone, the largest bone of the pelvis. It serves as an attachment site for several muscles but is poorly protected. Hip pointers can be severely painful and extremely limiting as hip flexion (raising the leg) and trunk rotation become difficult. The All-Star break will be key for Ariza's recovery as rest and anti-inflammatory medication are generally the best treatments. Carl Landry replaced Ariza in the starting lineup on Tuesday as the Rockets were routed by the Heat but failed to impress. Ariza should return to action in Houston's first game following the break, a February 16 match-up against the Jazz. However fantasy owners should curtail their expectations as hip pointers tend to linger and may ultimately affect Ariza's aggressiveness on both sides of the court.
Hip injuries seem to be the flavor of the week as sophomore sensation Derrick Rose is also dealing with a hip injury. Rose took a nasty fall in a recent game against the Magic following a hard foul from Dwight Howard. Fortunately X-rays and a MRI revealed no significant damage and the injury is being classified as a bruised hip. Like Bynum and Ariza, Rose will benefit most from rest and anti-inflammatory treatment but expects to defend his Skills Challenge title as well as appear in his first All-Star game. The Bulls resume regular season action on Tuesday when they host the Knicks.
After a 22 game absence, Bobcat center Tyson Chandler returned to action after dealing with a stress reaction in his left foot. A stress reaction is a precursor to a stress fracture and the injury forced Chandler into a walking boot. While the six weeks off allowed for the injury to adequately heal, it did negatively affect Chandler's game and physical conditioning. He has played limited minutes in his two games back and has totaled just seven points and seven rebounds. Expect these numbers to gradually improve as Chandler's minutes increase but his progression will be slow to insure the injury does not flare up. Nazr Mohammed will be the likely candidate to see a reduction in playing time.
Article first appeared on 2/12/10