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NBA Injury Analysis: NBA Injury Updates

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Al Horford and Kwame Brown
The Hawks season took a significant hit when it was revealed that Horford suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Wednesday's loss at Indiana. The All-Star center was fighting for a rebound when his left shoulder was pulled backward; tearing the muscle nears its insertion point. Originally ruled a shoulder strain, a subsequent MRI revealed the tear.

The pectoral muscles are located in the upper portion of the chest and most often associated with pushing exercises like bench press. However most people fail to realize that in addition to its attachments to the sternum and ribcage, the pectoralis major fans out across the chest and connects to the upper arm bone, the humerus. This attachment site allows the muscle to help flex and extend the upper arm while also pulling the arm toward the body in a motion known as adduction. It even plays a part in rotating the arm.

When this part of the muscle tears, surgery is often needed to reattach the muscle to the bone. The associated rehab takes approximately three months to complete. Though Horford plans to get a second opinion, it sounds like surgery remains a very possible option. Either way his fantasy season is over and Horford owners will need to do some serious damage control. Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins are the only true centers currently on the Atlanta roster with Pachulia holding the most fantasy value. He got the first crack at replacing Horford in the starting lineup of Thursday's rout of the Bobcats, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebound in 32 minutes.

Warriors center Kwame Brown also tore his pec muscle and is slated for surgery within the next few days. Brown will be out at least three months. Andris Biedrins returned from an ankle injury and looks to be the primary beneficiary of Brown's absence.

Derrick Rose
The reigning MVP is currently sidelined with a sprained left big toe. While the name turf toe may confuse some since the Bulls play on hardwood and not artificial grass, understand turf toe is a condition that arises when the big toe of the foot is hyperextended. Although it originally got its name because the injury commonly occurred on unforgiving artificial turf, it can happen on natural grass, hardwood, or even in a collision with another player. Additionally Rose's shoes may have played a factor. Turf toe often occurs when an athletic shoe is too flexible, allowing for excessive movement of the toes and foot.

Regardless of the mechanism of injury, turf toe is an extremely painful and limiting injury, particularly when pushing off the foot like while accelerating up the court or jumping. The condition can be aided by tape, but rest and lots of treatment time in the athletic training are generally the best fix. Rose remains day-to-day and remains hopeful he will be available for Friday's contest against the Celtics. Rose's replacement, John Lucas, made an instant impression in his first start, scoring a career-high 25 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists.

TJ Ford
With Manu Ginobili still recovering from surgery on his left hand, the Spurs depth took another hit when it was revealed Ford will be sidelined for an extended period with a hamstring strain.

The hamstring is a muscle group responsible for extending (move back) the hip and flexing (bending) the knee and lower leg. The hamstring also controls deceleration of the leg when an athlete is running. It is made up of three specific muscles, the semimembranous, semitendinosus, and the biceps femoris. Each one of these muscles is made up of fibers that run the length of the muscle.

Thanks to astute reporting we know the specifics of Ford's injury, which provide us a huge amount of information. Ford suffered a longitudinal tear of the left biceps femoris, meaning his specific tear occurs in line with the fibers of the most commonly strained hamstring muscle. The length of the tear on the MRI can serve as a strong indicator of how much time the athlete will miss. The Spurs believe Ford will miss four-to-six weeks.

In the meantime the team will lean heavily on Garl Neal and Kawhi Leonard to provide the offense spark missing with both Ginobili and Ford sidelined.

Fast Breaks

Carmelo Anthony: Melo limped out of New York's loss to Memphis with a sprained wrist and sprained ankle. Given his other issues (back, knee, and hip) it would be wise for him to take a few games off. It may not be popular amongst fantasy owners but it would help him preserve his body for the remainder of the year.

Jose Barea and Michael Beasley: After returning from a left hamstring strain, Barea suffered a sprained left ankle and will not travel with the team for their weekend games against New Orleans and Atlanta. Beasley did not make the trip either as he nurses a sprained right foot. He has not played since suffering the injury on January 6 in a loss to Cleveland.

Andrea Bargnani: Bargnani suffered a strained calf in Toronto's loss to Sacramento. He underwent a MRI on Thursday and the medical staff is still developing a treatment plan before releasing the results.

Steve Blake: The Lakers backup point guard is nursing a painful rib injury. Blake suffered a costochondral fracture, confirmed by MRI. The lower ribs of the ribcage connect to the sternum via cartilage and it is this cartilage that Blake has broken. He is listed as day-to-day but seems poised to miss some time or at least be extremely limited on the court. Blake's absence could put more strain on Kobe Bryant who is carrying the backcourt with veteran Derek Fisher still rounding into shape.

Brook Lopez: Still recovering from surgery on his fractured foot, Lopez is hoping to shed his walking boot within the next week. He remains on schedule and if he holds true to the initial timeline, should be back in roughly four weeks.

Tracy McGrady: Bask spasms continue to limit the Hawks swingman. T-Mac has a long history of back issues, dating back to his days in Houston, so don't be shocked if this issue lingers all season.

Marvin Williams: Williams is targeting a weekend return after suffering a Grade I sprain that has kept him out of three straight games.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com. You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.