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NBA Injury Analysis: 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...
by Jeff Stotts
RotoWire Injury Expert

The final weeks of the season have been marred by several scary incidents after Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut and Toronto's Chris Bosh were shelved for the remainder of the year with gruesome injuries. New Orleans point guard Chris Paul also saw his season end prematurely after he tore a ligament in his middle finger. With fantasy championships concluding on Wednesday, let's take one last look around the league at players nursing injuries.

Andrew Bogut
Bogut's frightening fall against the Suns was enough to make even the toughest stomach queasy.  Bogut suffered multiple injuries on the dunk including a dislocated elbow, broken hand, and sprained wrist.  A dislocated wrist occurs when the bones of the lower arm (the ulna and radius) become displaced from the upper arm bone (the humerus) and are generally accompanied by tearing of the surrounding ligaments. While the injury was nasty, it could have been much worse as Bogut avoided arterial and nerve damage as well as damage to the bony process known as the olecranon.  The Australian center underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture in his right hand and is expected to miss at least six weeks with the myriad of injuries.

The injury was extremely disappointing considering Bogut was in the midst of a breakout season, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Veteran Kurt Thomas has started in Bogut's place and produced solid numbers of his own, averaging 8.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 1.0 block over that span. Fantasy owners in need or rebounds and blocks should scoop Thomas up for the final games of the year.

Chris Bosh
Like Bogut, Bosh will be sidelined indefinitely after the All-Star suffered maxilla and nasal fractures to the right side of his face when he took an inadvertent elbow from Cleveland's Antawn Jamison. The maxilla is the upper jawbone and conjoins with the zygomatic to form the cheek.  It also articulates with the nasal bone at the frotal process. It is likely this is the area where Bosh's fractures occurred. Fractures of the maxilla and nasal bones can be problematic as they make common activities like chewing and nasal breathing difficult. Athletes who have suffered maxilla or nasal fractures may also suffer from double vision, nosebleeds, and numbness in their lips and cheek. 

While his Raptors teammate Hedo Turkoglu and Dallas' Jason Terry have both returned from facial fractures, the injury that Bosh suffered was different. Both Terry and Turkoglu suffered non-displaced fractures, meaning the bone did not deviate from its anatomical position.  While Bosh's maxilla fracture was non-displaced, the nasal fracture was displaced and required surgery to return its normal position.  Bosh will be reevaluated in 10 days but it is hard to imagine him suiting up for any of the Raptors' remaining four games.  Reggie Evans joined the starting lineup in their first game without their leading scorer but was less than impressive.

Chris Paul
After missing 25 games recouping from arthroscopic knee surgery, a torn ligament in his right middle finger will ultimately end Paul's season.  He suffered the injury in first game back from the knee injury and has continued to play in pain. However he aggravated the injury in a recent practice and after an MRI revealed a tear, the Hornets elected to shut down their franchise player.  Fortunately for Paul the injury will not require surgery and the point guard will be ready for next season. CP3 has been successful when healthy, averaging 18.7 points and 10.7 assist but a sprained left ankles and a torn meniscus in his knee have forced him to miss 33 games.  Despite the multitude of injuries Paul remains a top pick entering the 2010-2011 season. In the meantime, rookie point guard Darren Collison returns to the starting role and remains a must-add, if available, in all formats.

Shawn Marion
The Dallas Mavericks hosted Memphis on Wednesday without their best defender, as Marion watched from the bench nursing a strained oblique muscle.  The injury occurred when he attempted a layup against in a recent loss to the Thunder. While oblique injuries are not as common in basketball as they are in other sports, like baseball, strains to the muscles surrounding the abdominal walls remain complicated and painful. The oblique muscles are classified into two groups, the internal and external obliques. The external obliques are the larger of the two and helps pull the chest downward during breathing.  Lying underneath the external obliques is the internal obliques, responsible for compressing the abdomen during exhalation.  Together the two groups work synergistically with the muscles on the opposite side to achieve rotation of the trunk. For example, if Marion wants to move his left shoulder across his body toward his right hip, he would have to fire his right internal oblique and his left external oblique. Marion's strain is located on his left side making rotational movements difficult, which can be particularly limiting for a player nicknamed the Matrix. 

With the playoffs on the horizon, don't expect the Mavericks to risk Marion and will likely take it easy with their starting small forward for the remainder of the year. Deshawn Stevenson has replaced Marion in the starting lineup but is not fantasy relevant. The injury did help Caron Butler breakout of his recent slump as he slid over to his more comfortable small forward position.
 Joe Johnson
The Atlanta Hawks have played their last three games without Johnson who suffered a sprained right thumb in a recent game against the Lakers. While the sprain is considered minor, thumb injuries are hard to play with and slow to heal. The digit is openly exposed and prone to getting hit by defending players and incoming passes. Players will often adjust their game to avoid contact, limiting their effectiveness on both ends of the court. Atlanta will show extreme caution with their All-Star but has hinted he could be available for Friday's home finale against the Raptors. However fantasy owners should scale back their expectations and must remember that the normally productive Johnson may be a precarious play.

Article first appeared on 4/9/10