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NBA Injury Analysis: Injury Updates

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.

As teams convene for the All-Star break, players around the league will use the weekend to tend to injuries and spend extra time in the athletic training room. Fantasy owners should use this extended time off to evaluate their rosters and consider adding players set to return following the break.

The Dallas Mavericks got a head start, welcoming back Rodrigue Beaubois from a fractured metatarsal. After undergoing surgery in the offseason, Beaubois suffered a setback that delayed his return. The crafty guard didn't wait long to show why Dallas was eager to have him back. In his first game back, he scored 13 points to along with six assists and three steals. He joined the starting lineup one night later, scoring nine points in 19 minutes of action. Clearly Beaubois will need time to get in shape but the guard could be tremendously beneficial to opportunistic fantasy owners looking to make a late push for the playoffs. DeShawn Stevenson saw his already-limited fantasy value take a hit with his return to the bench.

While the Mavericks welcome a promising youngster back into the mix, the Bucks are anticipating the return of a proven veteran. Sharpshooter Michael Redd is poised to make his long-awaited return from the second significant knee injury of his career.

In 2009, Redd suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his left knee. He underwent surgery and played in 18 games in 2010 before he was back on the operating table after once again tearing the MCL and ACL in the left knee. The ACL is the primary stabilizer of the knee and is surgically repaired using the tendon from a cadaver (an allograft) or a piece of tendon from one of the patient's own muscles (an autograft). Generally individuals like Redd, who want to perform at high levels of intensity, elect to undergo an autograft. Studies have shown that autografts can withstand greater amounts of force than allograts. However because the tissue is taken from the patient's own body, there is often an extra amount of required rehab. While many players return around six to eight months later (think Patriot's receiver Wes Welker), it can take up to 12-to-18 months for the ACL graft to reach optimal condition.

The MCL injury is not as significant as the ACL tear. The MCL, utilized to stabilize the knee during lateral movement, often heals on its own and most often doesn't require surgical intervention. The recovery window for a Grade III MCL sprain is around three to four months and the rehabilitation for the ACL also aids in the recovery of the MCL.

Redd's second surgery was performed in January of 2010 and the veteran plans on rejoining the team shortly after the break. He will make steady progress in practice before returning to game action. While Redd may not be valuable on an established fantasy roster, he could be a solid addition for those in deep leagues looking to add an efficient shooter.

The Memphis Grizzlies will be without Rudy Gay for at least four weeks after suffering a shoulder subluxation earlier this week. The injury occurred midway through the second quarter of Tuesday's game against the Sixers when guard Evan Turner hit Gay across the arm during an attempted jump shot. Initial X-rays were negative but a MRI revealed the subluxation.

A subluxation is often referred to as a partial dislocation and though it remains a significant injury, it is not as severe as a complete dislocation. A shoulder subluxation occurs when the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) temporarily slips out of its normal alignment within the glenohumeral joint. Often the ligaments of the shoulder are overstretched and sprained but the joint is not completely disrupted. Once the inflammation and pain subsides Gay will begin exercises intended to maintain complete range of motion as well as strengthen the shoulder musculature to improve the integrity of the joint. Unfortunately the odds of a recurrence increase once an injury of this nature has occurred and Gay will be at an increased risk for future injury. If he is able to return this season, he will likely return wearing a protective sleeve or brace.

In the meantime the Grizzlies will try to divide Gay's minutes between Tony Allen and Sam Young. They have also brought in some outside help, signing former University of Memphis star Rodney Carney to a 10-day contract. Young and Allen should be a decent source of steals and points for fantasy owners reeling from the loss of Gay. It seems to reason that OJ Mayo will remain in the doghouse despite the available minutes.

Sacramento's Tyreke Evans left fantasy owners in a difficult spot during the shortened week, missing both of his team's games after his plantar fasciitis flared up. Plantar fasciitis is an extremely painful problem that is unfortunately easily irritated. To make matters worse, constant irritation on the inside of the foot can lead to the development of a heel spur at the attachment site of the plantar fascia. If that were to occur than Evans would likely need surgery to alleviate the problem. The injury isn't likely to go away any time soon and it will be difficult for those in fantasy leagues to trust Evans going forward. Consider packaging him in a trade if possible. Evans' absence provides a boost to Beno Udrih, who has cooled a bit after a hot start to the new year.

The Bulls will get a chance to see their team at full strength as Joakim Noah is expected to return after the break. Noah underwent surgery to repair a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. He also tore ligaments in his right index finger and right ring finger. The energetic center has been practicing with a protective splint on the injured thumb, which could require some adjustment time. It wouldn't be surprising to see Noah's rebounding number dip and his turnovers increase as he adjusts to playing with the thumb protected. Furthermore Noah will need some time to get readjusted to the speed of play and expect coach Tom Thibodeau to limit his minutes early on.

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

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