by Jeff Stotts
RotoWire Injury Expert
As the NBA schedule nears its halfway point, fatigue from a long grueling season begins to set in for players around the league. Minor aches and pains develop into nagging, lingering sprains and strains. Earlier this week rookie Blake Griffin and veteran Michael Redd were both ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Fantasy owners should anticipate more marquee names to succumb to injuries in the coming weeks.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin saw his rookie campaign end before it even began as surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left patella will end his 2010 season. The Oklahoma product was originally diagnosed with a fractured patella, better known as the kneecap, following the Clippers' preseason finale. The number one overall pick has spent the following months aggressively rehabbing in hopes of returning at some point this year. However Griffin began experiencing pain in the knee during a recent aquatic therapy session designed to lessen the stress placed on the joint. The resulting exam revealed the healing process wasn't progressing appropriately and that surgery will now be required.
I detailed the injury when it initially occurred but it is worth reiterating the importance of the patella. Classified as a sesamoid bone, the patella floats within the tendon of the quadriceps increasing its moment arm and a result increases the range of motion for the knee joint. A damaged patella makes ordinary movements like running and jumping difficult drastically affecting a basketball player's ability. Griffin is scheduled for a January 20 surgery and should be ready to resume basketball activities in four to six months barring any setback. Fantasy owners can officially cut bait with the promising rookie while veteran forward Marcus Camby's fantasy value increases as he is no longer at risk to lose minutes to Griffin.
It is deja vu all over again for Milwaukee guard Michael Redd. One year after tearing the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, Redd's season will end prematurely as he once again tore the MCL and ACL in his knee. The ACL is the primary stabilizer of the knee and will have to be surgically repaired due to its poor ability to heal on its own. The procedure is performed arthroscopically with a graft, taken from Redd's own tissue (an autograft) or the tissue from a donor cadaver (an allograft), used to replace the damaged ligament. If an autograft is used, the tissue is harvested from another one of Redd's tendons usually a hamstring tendon or a patellar tendon is utilized. On the other hand, the MCL heals very well with conservative treatment and surgery will not be needed. Located on the inside of the leg, the MCL acts as a stabilizer against valgus forces that are placed on the knee joint during lateral movement. A player can generally return to action following six to eight months of rehabilitation but the knee can take as long as a year to completely heal. While Redd could feasibly be ready for the 2010-2011 season it is hard to say if his knee will ever be the same following two significant knee injuries and if his days of fantasy relevance are over. Charlie Bell has since assumed Redd's place in the starting lineup with rookie Jodie Meeks receiving an increase in minutes off the bench.
The Warriors received disappointing news earlier this week when they learned forward Anthony Randolph will miss at least two months with a fracture in his left ankle. Randolph originally injured the ankle in a game against the Kings while attempting to block a shot. He was bumped on the way down and his ankle was forced into inversion. Inversion ankle sprains are the most common type of ankle sprains and result in damage to the lateral ligaments. Two of these ligaments completely tore and the force was strong enough to also break away a tiny piece of bone with the ligament, classifying this injury as an avulsion fracture. Randolph has been placed in a protective boot that will immobilize the ankle joint and allow for proper healing. However this particular injury will require a lengthy rehab and the likelihood of Randolph playing this season is in doubt especially if the Warriors fail to enter the playoff picture. While forward Vladimir Radmanovic has joined the Golden State starting lineup, Coach Don Nelson has often elected to play a smaller lineup leaving Radmanovic's fantasy value a mystery from game to game.
The Magic have been without guard Vince Carter for their last three games as he nurses a sprained shoulder. Carter injured the acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his left shoulder after colliding with Wizard forward Andre Blatche. The AC joint is where the clavicle, or collarbone, meets the scapula, or shoulder blade, at a bony process known as the acormion. The acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments connect these two bones and are easily sprained when the tip of the acromion is forced downward following a direct blow similar to the one Carter took from Blatche. Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has called his team's leading scorer "day-to-day" but fantasy owners shouldn't expect Carter back until sometime next week. Guard J.J. Redick has started in Carter's absence, averaging 12.7 points over the past three games. Forward Matt Barnes has also taken advantage of the sitatiuon pouring in a season-high 28 points in Wednesday's loss to Denver.
Fantasy owners who held onto Kevin Martin are about to be rewarded for their patience as the Sacramento guard is slated to return to action Friday. Martin has missed his team's last 32 games with a hairline fracture in the navicular bone in his left wrist. The doctor who performed the surgery on the tiny carpal bone cleared Martin to play earlier in the week feeling the bone has successfully healed. Martin has been participating in non-contact basketball activities for awhile and plans to partake in Friday's shoot-around. Coach Paul Westphal hopes will make the final decision about Martin's availability for Friday's game against the Sixers. Fantasy owners should give the guard some time to get back into game shape and remember his numbers may still remain lower than expected with the emergence of Tyreke Evans.
Article first appeared on 1/15/10