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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...

Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum

The Lakers may begin their title defense without their starting power forward as Pau Gasol continues to nurse a strained right hamstring. The strain has forced him out of five exhibition games already and Coach Phil Jackson has stated Gasol will not play in their preseason finale.

The hamstring is a group of muscles, the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the short and long heads of the biceps femoris. These muscles work together to bend the knee (knee flexion) and bring the leg backwards (hip extension). When strained, these motions can be limited and painful to perform. This injury can be particularly bothersome in basketball where quick cuts and explosive, dynamic movement are required. Gasol has been shut down for the remainder of the preseason as the team hopes rest and treatment will allow for the injury to mend. Monitor Gasolís status up until opening night but expect the Lakers to take it easy to insure this issue does not become a lingering one.

Gasolís frontcourt mate is dealing with an injury of his own, as Andrew Bynum is battling a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint in which the upper arm bone, the humerus, sits within the scapula, or shoulder blade. The head of the humerus (the ball) is free to move around an indefinite number of axis while the glenohumeral ligaments and surrounding musculature help constrain it within the glenoid cavity of the scapula (the socket). The primary muscles that help reinforce the shoulder joint are the rotator muscles that make up the rotator cuff. These four muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor, like their name suggests, enable the arm to rotate inward and outward. When the arm is overstretched the tendons of the muscles can be strained limiting a personís ability to fully rotate the arm.

Fortunately Bynumís sprain appears minor and he should be ready to go when the Lakers open the season against their in-house rival, the Clippers.

Derrick Rose

The Chicago Bulls are hoping their star point guard will be ready for opening night after Derrick Rose turned his ankle in the preseason opener on October 2. An inversion ankle sprain is the most common ankle sprain and occurs when the foot is inverted or bent inward. In basketball this often occurs when player comes down on the foot of another player. This aggressive movement applies excessive force and stress to the outside or lateral ligaments of the ankle. The severity of the sprain is dependent on the amount of damage and sometimes tearing that occurs to these ligaments. Furthermore, when the ankle is violently forced in a particular direction, the muscles surrounding the ankle can be become injured as they are overstretched or forced to work in an intense burst to rite and stabilize the ankle joint.

This appears to be the case with Rose as it has been reported that he has an inflamed tendon in the ankle in as well as the sprain. Rose has been sidelined since the injury occurred but returned to practice on Thursday. If the ankle and tendon show no signs of a setback or excessive inflammation expect the reigning Rookie of the Year to be in Chicagoís starting lineup.

Al Jefferson and Kevin Love

Minnesotaís Al Jefferson is suffering from a sore Achilles tendon. The Achilles actually serves as the tendon for three muscles that conjoin in one common muscular tendon and attach at base of the calcaneus (the heel). These three muscles are the gastrocnemius and the soleus, commonly referred to as the calf, and the plantaris. Together they allow for knee flexion and pointing the foot downward (plantar flexion). When inflamed a condition called tendinitis can develop making performing the actions painful. It appears Jefferson will be ready for the start of the regular season but closely monitor his minutes as the effects of this injury can be a prolonged by overuse.

The prognosis is not as positive for Jeffersonís teammate forward Kevin Love. Love fractured the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand in a preseason game against Chicago. The metacarpal bones are the long bones that make up the hand and sit between the carpal bones of the wrist and the phalanges of the finger. Love underwent surgery Tuesday and had three screws inserted into his hand. Love is expected to miss six to eight weeks while recovering. When Love does return he may be forced to wear a protective glove similar to the one Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry wore after he suffered a similar injury last season.

Emeka Okafor

The newest member of the Hornets may not be ready to suit up as a sprained toe has Emeka Okaforís availability for the opener in question. Acquired by New Orleans in the offseason, Okafor sprained the toe on the first day of training camp and hasnít participated in any of the teamís preseason games. The team has not specified which toe is sprained but has said it is not the big toe. While a toe injury may seem like a minor issue, it can be limiting for an athlete especially one of Okaforís size and stature. The foot and toes serve as the primary foundation for all lower extremity activities and a sprained toe can limit oneís ability to run, cut, pivot, and jump. It has been reported that the Hornetís medical staff have cleared the former Rookie of the Year to return, but Okafor has yet to return to practice. Expect Coach Byron Scott to limit Okaforís minutes once he does return as the time off has likely affected the centerís conditioning.

Article first appeared on 10/26/09