In Street Clothes...
Surgery. No one word sends more chills down fantasy owners spines. Fortunately advancements in modern medicine have made a majority of surgeries minimally invasive, reducing the amount of time players will sidelined. Over the past few weeks several NBA players have entered the operating room and while some have seen their season end others begin the hopefully short road to recovery in order to return sometime this season.
No team has been as plagued with injuries as the Trail Blazers. Already Travis Outlaw (foot surgery), Nicolas Batum (shoulder surgery), and rookies Patrick Mills (broken foot), and Jeff Pendergraph (hip surgery) have all missed significant time with injuries and now even the head coach is sidelined as Coach Nate McMillian recovers from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. Unfortunately the hits keep coming as two more Blazers went under the knife this past week beginning with their big man in the middle as Injuries continue to hinder the rise of former #1 overall pick Greg Oden.
After missing the entire 2007-08 season while rehabbing from microfracture surgery on his right knee, Oden returned last season with mixed results. The center averaged 8.9 points and 7.0 rebounds despite missing 21 games with yet another injury, this time a mid-foot avulsion fracture in his right foot suffered in the first game of the season. Oden agressively trained over the offseason and started the season with a bang averaging an impressive 11.1 points a game to go along with 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Unforunately Oden's season has once again ended premautrely after he suffered a fractured patella, better known as the kneecap, in his left knee during a game against the Rockets. Oden underwent a successful surgery in which screws were inserted into the bone to reattach and stabilize the pieces of the fragments of the patella.
The patella is classified as a sesamoid bone, meaning it floats within the tendon of a muscle. In the case of the patella, the muscle is the quadriceps making the quad particularly susceptible to atrophy following surgery. Oden will quickly begin exercises to strengthen these key muscles while also focusing on regaining proper range of motion. If the fracture properly heals and the strength of quadriceps muscle returns, Oden should be cleared in six to eight months making his availability for next year's preseason a strong possibility. Unfortunately for fantasy owners the promising outlook is not helpful this year and veteran center Joel Przybilla sudden becomes fantasy relevant.
Oden's teammate Rudy Fernandez will likely miss six weeks after undergoing a surgical procedure to relieve nerve pressure in his lower back that was producing pain in his right leg. The procedure the second-year player underwent is known as a microdisectomy and is carried out when a disc herniation is impinging on a nerve in the back. In the procedure, tiny pieces of bone and disc above and below the impinged nerve are removed in hopes of not only relieving the pressure but also providing substantial space for the nerve to heal. Once the pressure is alleviated, associated leg pain should diminish. After a promising rookie season, Fernandez was averaging 8.6 points, 2.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds this year. With the injuries mounting, franchise cornerstones Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge will be asked to carry more of the offensive load while Martell Webster and Jerryd Bayless could also see a boost in minutes.
Boston will be without one of their key reserves for the foreseeable future as swingman Marquis Daniels underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. As previously discussed with Kirk Hinrich, the tear likely occurred to the ulnar collateral ligament of the metacarpal joint of the thumb. When injured, the multiple degrees of motion at this joint become restricted causing difficulties gripping the basketball ball and controlling the ball while dribbling. Obviously an injury like this would hinder a player Boston had hoped would handle the ball more as a backup point guard. While no official timetable has been sent for Daniels, it is likely to be comparable to the 31 games Hinrich missed last season after he underwent a similar surgery.
Daniels had appeared in 19 games this season averaging 5.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Tony Allen, fresh off a return from an ankle injury, is most likely candidate to see more time in Daniels' absence.
Pacers forward Danny Granger could miss up to six weeks after a MRI confirmed the All-Star has a tear in the plantar fascia of his right foot. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot against normal forces associated with weight-bearing and protects the bottom of the foot from injury. When walking or running, the tension placed on the plantar fascia increases to as much as twice the athletes' body weight. If subjected to an excessive amount of constant tension or force, the plantar fascia can become inflamed resulting in plantar fasciitis and occasionally, like in the case of Granger, may tear. A plantar fascia injury is very painful and hurts with weight bearing, making basketball activities like running, cutting, and jumping extremely difficult. Plantar fascia injuries generally require weeks of extended rest and treatment and while Granger will not require surgery, this problem will probably persist for the remainder of the season. The Pacers will allow Granger to rest for the next several weeks in hopes the tear will heal and the inflammation will subside. He will likely return with a customized orthotic inserted into his shoes to help support the arch and decrease the tension placed in the plantar fascia. The Indianapolis offense will be without their leading scorer but the Pacers hope Brandon Rush and Mike Dunleavy Jr. can help fill the void.
Article first appeared on 12/11/09