In Street Clothes...
By Jim Russo
RotoWire Injury Expert
Michael Redd - MIL [SG,SF]
Redd is expected to make his return Friday night against the Lakers. He may come off the bench, he may start. Time will tell, but his leg should be healed well enough for a full return to form soon. Like we said last week, you have to be cautious with this type of injury, but at this point, I'm sure he has full range of motion and strength. There could still be a bit of pain and some swelling in the area but nothing too extreme.
Tracy McGrady - HOU [SF]The Rockets medical staff continues to be optimistic that Tracy McGrady will be back over the next week or so. He'll be reevaluated January 10th, and possibly could practice with the team by the weekend, but I really wouldn't expect to see him in the lineup until this time next week. Starting Friday night, they have three games in five nights, then three full days off before they play again. My guess is that's the target and you'll see him getting involved the middle to the end of next week.
Point Guards on the Mend
TJ Ford - TOR [PG]
Ford was cleared to begin working out with the team again, just conditioning and basketball activities; no contact yet, and there is no timetable for a concrete return to the court. Obviously things will continue to move slowly for Ford who earlier this year wasn't sure if he would ever return to the Raptors, let alone this season. His history has been covered to this point…..what's left is to determine if he's risking any permanent damage to his neck or the nerves that arise from that part of his spinal cord, and again, time will tell. Figure a few weeks of non-contact drills and running to get him back into game shape, then he'll test it out in practice and bang with his team for a while. If he's comfortable to that point, and the team's medical staff is in agreement, he'll give it a shot. If there are setbacks along the way, any setbacks, this prognosis will change drastically, but my feeling is it will largely be up to him, and that bodes well for Ford and for Raptor fans. Players want to play (for the most part); they'll worry about their bodies later.
Randy Foye - MIL [PG,SG]
Foye also has been cleared to start working out. Again, no contact, but at least he's running and jumping. He's missed the entire season to this point with a stress reaction in his left knee, which is the early stages of a stress fracture, a chronic injury where bone is being broken down by the body faster than it can be rebuilt. The injury has limited him to pool running and light rehab since the pre-season, so it will take a while for him to return to competitive shape. Again, figure a week or two without contact, then, assuming no setbacks, a couple more practicing. If he feels no pain, and team doctors and athletic trainers feel its safe, he'll be back. Now we all know the T-Wolves are going nowhere this year, (except to the lottery), so they'll remain cautious, but all reports seem to indicate that this is a young player eager to get back out there…..if he's confident that he can help the team without hurting himself, that's tough to hold down for long.
Mike Bibby - SAC [PG]
Bibby is looking at a potential late January return to the Kings. He returned to full practices on New Year's Day, and had his first full scrimmage on the 7th. All reports indicate that his surgically repaired thumb is doing very well, but it's taking him longer than expected to return to game shape. Either way, the target from the initial injury was mid to late January, and that looks accurate.
Grant Hill - PHO [SF]
A new name on the injury reports this week is Grant Hill, who had an appendectomy on Wednesday night. The Suns expect to be without him for two, maybe three weeks. Surgery is usually done laparoscopically (like an arthroscopy, which is similar except it's performed on a joint), through three small incisions, which has various advantages. Among them are a lower risk of infection, less scarring, less time in the hospital and most importantly, a quicker return to sports. Basically, he'll be ready when the incisions have healed and the strength in his abdomen is back to normal. This should not cause long term issues.
Luol Deng - CHI [SF]
Deng finally was forced to miss a few games after being bothered by Achilles tendonitis since the end of December. We have touched on the Achilles tendon a few times with regards to Elton Brand who tore his last summer. Tendonitis is inflammation at the point a muscle tendon connects to the bone it acts on; in this case the calcaneus, or heel bone. Tendonitis is a chronic injury which causes pain, swelling, and when it's the Achilles, severe limitations in walking, running, and jumping. Unlike Elton Brand's injury, which required surgery to repair the tendon, Deng's treatment starts with anti-inflammatory medication and simple stretching exercises along with other modalities like ice, ultrasound and electric muscle stimulation to reduce the inflammation and get him back to full strength. He's day-to-day at this point, so you may see him on the floor tonight, if not definitely in the next week.