NBA Injury Analysis: Coping in Week 2

NBA Injury Analysis: Coping in Week 2

This article is part of our NBA Injury Analysis series.

Russell Westbrook
The Thunder guard is expected to miss at least four weeks after suffering a fractured bone in his hand in a recent loss to the Clippers. I detailed the injury in this piece with Marc Roberts, but let's review anyway.

Westbrook's exact injury is a fracture of the second metacarpal in his shooting hand. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo missed most of the preseason with a similar injury. However, there's a major difference in the two injuries.

The metacarpals are the bones of the hand located between the carpal bones of the wrist and the bones of the fingers. The second and third metacarpals, located below the pointer and middle finger are tightly anchored to the carpal bones of the wrist. As a result, these bones are essentially immobile. However, the fourth and the fifth metacarpals must be able to move to allow for motion at the wrist and pinkie. This mobility is essential for function but does prolong the healing process when a fracture occurs.

Both Westbrook and Rondo underwent surgery because it gives them the best odds to avoid a nonunion or malunion. These situations arise when the bone fails to unite naturally or does so in an improper fashion. Surgically inserted hardware will stabilize the area and create an environment more conducive to healing.

Fortunately, bone tissue heals very well, and this isn't an injury that will be a long-term concern for Westbrook. He simply needs time to let the new bony tissue to develop.

Russell Westbrook
The Thunder guard is expected to miss at least four weeks after suffering a fractured bone in his hand in a recent loss to the Clippers. I detailed the injury in this piece with Marc Roberts, but let's review anyway.

Westbrook's exact injury is a fracture of the second metacarpal in his shooting hand. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo missed most of the preseason with a similar injury. However, there's a major difference in the two injuries.

The metacarpals are the bones of the hand located between the carpal bones of the wrist and the bones of the fingers. The second and third metacarpals, located below the pointer and middle finger are tightly anchored to the carpal bones of the wrist. As a result, these bones are essentially immobile. However, the fourth and the fifth metacarpals must be able to move to allow for motion at the wrist and pinkie. This mobility is essential for function but does prolong the healing process when a fracture occurs.

Both Westbrook and Rondo underwent surgery because it gives them the best odds to avoid a nonunion or malunion. These situations arise when the bone fails to unite naturally or does so in an improper fashion. Surgically inserted hardware will stabilize the area and create an environment more conducive to healing.

Fortunately, bone tissue heals very well, and this isn't an injury that will be a long-term concern for Westbrook. He simply needs time to let the new bony tissue to develop. In four weeks, the Thunder will reevaluate the fracture site using X-rays or a more advanced set of images to gauge the integrity of the fracture site. If the bone looks good, Westbrook could be cleared to return. If not, additional time will be allotted.

In the meantime, the Thunder will lean heavily on Perry Jones and Reggie Jackson. Jackson, who is nearing a return from a sprained ankle, is the more proven of the two, though Jones has looked solid so far. Through three games, Jones is averaging 19.3 points in 38 minutes per game.

Jose Calderon
The Knicks' starting point guard is expected to miss at least one more week with a strained calf. The initial injury occurred in the latter portion of the preseason and was aggravated shortly before the opening game of the season. An MRI taken on the area revealed the strain.

Calf injuries are tricky and can be amplified for those that have a history of lower extremity issues. The calf is a muscle complex made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. The calf begins where the hamstring muscles of the leg end. The calf complex is primarily responsible for plantar flexing the foot (pointing your toes) at the ankle joint but also aids the hamstrings in knee flexion. An injured calf can cause the hamstrings to become overworked, making them susceptible to being strained themselves.

Calderon's professional career is littered with games lost to lower extremity muscle problems. He's missed a total of 14 games with hamstring problems throughout his time in the NBA and an additional 12 games with hip flexor problems. The calf strain will likely sideline the veteran for at least six outings, assuming the initial timeline holds true. Second-year guard Shane Larkin has taken over the starting role in New York, though his fantasy value is currently low.

Fast Breaks

Andrea Bargnani: The Knicks don't expect the former number one overall pick to make his season debut this week as his hamstring strain continues to be an issue. Like Calderon, the injury should be handled conservatively to insure it does not become a recurring problem.

Jamal Crawford: The reigning Sixth Man of the Year missed the Clippers' loss to the Kings on Sunday nursing a rib contusion. While the injury may not seem like a big deal, it is important to note that rib fractures may not show up on X-rays until the healing process has begun. Keep a close eye on his availability early in the week to assure the injury isn't more significant than originally thought.

Dwight Howard: D12 may not be available to start the week after banging knees with a teammate over the weekend. The new injury is to the opposite knee he injured during the preseason. Howard has never had an issue with knee injuries before, and this appears to be a minor inconvenience.

Courtney Lee: The Memphis guard is currently out with a concussion and will have to complete the league-mandated concussion protocol before he can return. Grizzlies coach David Joerger expects Lee to be sidelined for "awhile." Veteran Tayshaun Prince will likely continue to start in Lee's place after playing limited minutes to start the season.

Brook Lopez: Lopez is set to return Monday night from a right mid-foot sprain suffered in the preseason. He remains a high-risk, high-reward player and has to be utilized when he plays. However, don't be surprised if his troublesome foot once again becomes an issue again down the road.

Chris Paul: The Clippers' All-Star point guard briefly left Sunday's loss to the Kings after he sprained his left foot. He was able to return, and the injury appears to be minor. However, it should be noted that Paul underwent surgery on this foot prior to the 2007-08 season. A screw was inserted in the foot to support a stress fracture, though the specific bone was never released. Paul will likely be fine, but it's an unfortunate early injury for a player who has plenty of red flags in his past.

Julius Randle: The Lakers rookie will not play again this season after suffering a fractured tibia in his right leg. The injury required surgical intervention to mend. Randle still has value in keeper leagues, but he's obviously droppable in one-year leagues.

Rodney Stuckey: Stuckey has a new injury on his troublesome left foot. After missing time during the preseason with soreness in the area, the Pacers are now reporting the guard is suffering from a tendon strain in the same spot. A firm timetable has not been established, but he is questionable for Tuesday's game.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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