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NBA Injury Analysis: In Street Clothes...


In Street Clothes...
by Jim Russo
RotoWire Injury Expert


Elton Brand


It was announced on Thursday that Elton Brand will have season-ending surgery to correct a torn labrum in his shoulder. Brand initially suffered the injury during a December 17th game against the Bucks.


The usual plan for such injuries in basketball is to try rest, rehab and strengthening exercises for 4-8 weeks. But if rest and rehab alone don't restore enough stability to the joint, surgery is needed. It sounds like that's what's happen in Brand's case.


The normal course of rehab for a surgically-repaired labrum is 4-6 months. Assuming all goes well, there's no reason to think he won't be at full strength for the start of next season.

Jameer Nelson


Orlando's Jameer Nelson is in the same boat - the injury he sustained is very similar to Brand's, and he'll follow a similar script. He'll rehab the injury for six-to-eight weeks and hope that's enough to restore stability to the shoulder. If it works, he could be back for the playoffs. If not, he'll be looking at the same sort of surgery.

Andrew Bynum


The injury that Andrew Bynum sustained - a torn medial collateral ligament - is more common in football than basketball. It is usually sustained when an impact to the outside of the knee causes the inside of the knee to "open up" - and tear. If you saw the clip of Bynum's injury, that's more or less what happened, but the "tackler" in this case was teammate Kobe Bryant, who got tangled up with Bynum under the basket.


Though the MCL sounds similar to the ACL, it is a far less serious injury. ACL tears mean surgery; MCL tears can be treated with rest and rehab, and possibly the use of a brace; surgical repairs are rare. If rehab goes well, Bynum could be in position to get back on the floor for the last week or so of the regular season, but there are no guarantees.


On a positive note, this is not the same knee that he hurt last year.

Andrew Bogut


Bogut will be out for at least two months with a stress fracture in his lower back. These injuries are more common than you'd think, particularly in basketball players. The weight of the entire torso is supported by just a few bones in the lower backů the strain of carrying that weight, combined with the force generated by running up and down the court, jumping, battling for position -- causes a lot of tension on the lumbar spine, and sometimes these stress fractures develop.


Bogut's fracture has probably been developing for a while. This sort of injury will often be diagnosed initially as back spasms, before the fracture - the root cause of the other problems - is actually found. That seems to be what happened here.


Treatment is pretty simple - he'll have to avoid any stress or strain on that part of his back. Of course, that easier said than done. He'll probably have to wear a brace, and his physical activity will be strictly limited - maybe some light cardio on a bike, etc. Anything - running, lifting weights - that would place any strain on the back could exacerbate the injury.


That means, in order to get back on the court, Bogut will need time to get his conditioning back after the fracture is healed. The injury itself will probably need at least six-to-eight weeks to really start healing. He'll be re-evaluated in late March to see where he stands.

Chris Paul


Paul left Monday's game against the Trail Blazers in the third quarter with what's been diagnosed as a strained groin. This doesn't sound like a serious injury; it's likely he'll be sidelined for about a week, possibly two. As with all muscle injuries, the biggest concern is when he'll be confident enough to really test it - too early and he could suffer a setback in his recovery. Expect the Hornets to approach this one with some caution, especially with the all-star break approaching.

Jim Russo is a certified athletic trainer with a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology.

Article first appeared on 2/5/09