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In Street Clothes...

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.

In Street Clothes...

Blake Griffin

The Clippers rookie is expected to miss up to six weeks after fracturing the patella in his left knee. The patella, or kneecap, is classified as a sesamoid bone meaning it "floats" within the tendon of a muscle that passes over a joint. The patella is imbedded within the common tendon of the quadriceps muscles and increases the moment arm of the tendon. When a moment arm is increased, the moment or torque is increased causing the range at which a joint can bend or rotate to also increase. Without a patella, the quadriceps muscle would display what is called an active insufficiency in which the leg cannot be entirely straightened. This range is also affected when the patella breaks, as the accompanying swelling and effusion will additionally limit the range of motion.

It is key for basketball players to have full range of motion at the knee in order to properly jump, run, and cut so it is vital to Griffin that the patella successfully and completely heals. Fortunately the first overall draft pick suffered a non-displaced stress fracture that will not require surgery. Instead, Griffin will patiently wait for the patella to heal, receiving bone stimulation treatment and keeping conditioned by participating in pool exercises. Regrettably, fantasy owners must be equally patient with Griffin as the Clippers will likely ease their prized rookie slowly back onto the court when the fracture is healed.

Richard Hamilton

Hamilton left the Pistons' season opener late in the fourth quarter after spraining his right ankle when he came down on the foot of Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo following a jumper. X-rays taken after the game were negative for a fracture but the ankle was so tender that Hamilton required a wheelchair to make it back to the locker room. An ankle sprain results from the supporting ligaments of the joint become overstretched or torn from excessive force. There are varying degrees of sprains based on severity of the damage to the ligaments and surrounding tissue. In addition when the ligament is damaged it looses some of its elasticity and is unable to completely return to its pre-injury state. Consider a rubber band, fresh out of the package. It is full of spring and usually smaller in size. When used to bind things it is constantly stretched and overstretched and will eventually elongate and loose some of its bounce. However a lax ligament is a bigger issue than an overused office supply because the associated joint becomes unstable. The stability of the Hamilton's ankle has likely been compromised by the ankle sprain and it will be difficult and possibly painful for him to make the sharp cuts he is use to making nightly. The former All-Star is one of the league's best at moving without the ball and most of his offensive game is dependent on his ability to come off screens and get open. Hamilton is a question mark for Detroit's home opener and while the sprain may not be serious, keep an eye on his performances in the next several games. Ben Gordon will see an increase in offensive responsibilities if Hamilton cannot play.

Mehmet Okur

The Jazz may be without their veteran center when they play their home opener against the Clippers. Okur sprained his left knee and ankle after trying to take a charge from Denver's Nene. It is not surprising to see two sprains on the same extremity. Athletic trainers and physicians often utilize a tool known as the kinetic link model, a biomechanical concept used to analyze an injury in which the body is imagined as an interconnected arrangement of dependent links working together to carry out a desired action. If an injury occurs somewhere along the sequence, the other parts become effected. Imagine the leg as an iron chain, where each link in the chain serves as one of the joints (hip, knee, ankle) of the leg. If one of these links is weakened, the strength of the entire chain decreases. The excessive force Okur's left leg absorbed managed to sprain two links of the chain. Both injuries will needed to be rehabbed and treated to insure the strength of the entire extremity returns. Okur stated he was more concerned with the ankle and is a game-time decision for Friday's game. Paul Millsap and Carlos Boozer will see an increase in minutes if Okur is sidelined.

Danny Granger

Despite suffering from a bone bruise in his heel, Granger managed to score 31 points in the Pacers' 2009-2010 season debut. The heel is actually the proximal portion of the calcaneus, a primary bone of the foot and ankle. A thick fat pad exists to help absorb the constant stress and forces that the calcaneus undergoes with weight bearing. However the heel can become contused or bruised especially in basketball players because of the constant pounding it takes from quick movements and repetitive jumping. An athletic trainer may place add a heel cup to Granger's shoe to supply extra protection and minimize the pain. It sounds like Granger will continue to play with the injury but fantasy owners should pay attention to his daily status as he may miss a game or two if the pain becomes too intense.

Article first appeared on 10/30/09