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NBA Injury Analysis: In Street Clothes...

In Street Clothes...
By Jim Russo
RotoWire Injury Expert

This week definitely qualifies as another slow one tracking injuries that affect fantasy production in the NBA. I think it's good as it allows some time to recover from the post Thanksgiving food fog and maybe get a head start on that holiday shopping frenzy without wondering who's starting for your squad this weekend. There are still some question marks though, so we'll start with a couple troublesome groin injuries.

Nate Robinson

The undermanned Knicks lost starting two-guard Nate Robinson to a groin strain during Tuesday's blowout loss to the Cavs. Most athletes, even the recreational variety, know where the groin muscle is located. Few know that it's really a group of five muscles and the action of the complex is to adduct the thigh, or bring the leg closer to the midline of the body. The groin is involved in all lateral or diagonal movement of the body. Some minor groin strains may even go unnoticed when athletes are running straight forward or backward, but as soon as they try to cut or move side to side, the pain is clearly evident. Muscle strains of this type usually take at least a week but sometimes as much as three or four to heal completely, especially for explosive guards whose greatest strength is running the floor, so it may be a little while before we see Robinson back in the lineup. That's unfortunate for a young player who is really enjoying a breakout season in new coach Mike D'Antoni's system…averaging 14.5 points 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists…but it's not the end of the world.

Cuttino Mobley

As far as new teammate Cuttino Mobley, there really isn't much information out there to detail the heart condition that has kept him in the doctor's office since his trade to New York last week. All that needs to be said is that many players deal with various heart conditions every day, most don't even know about them and it rarely causes any alarming symptoms. In this case the Clippers knew about the problem and supposedly the Rockets before that. And he's always played; the first 11 so far this year and 79, 78, and 77 the three previous years. The Knicks did approve the trade with the Clippers on Tuesday so you have to expect they're not too worried about it either. We all know those trades the team made last week were important to clear cap space for the franchise, but I doubt they were important enough to accept a player that wouldn't be able to play for them. That being said it's still his heart so it always pays to be cautious. It may still be a few days before he makes his debut on the East Coast, but it will come.

Jameer Nelson

As for that other groin strain, Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson went down Monday night in a contest against the Bucks. He's expected to be out at least a week himself, but for a player who logs some major minutes at a position like point guard, it could definitely be longer than that. You have to expect the Magic won't want to risk losing him for a significant amount of time, so they should exercise that early season prudence that so many teams do this time of year. Groin strains can definitely progress if they aren't handled right and they're already going to be without another guard, Keith Bogans, who fractured his left thumb during a game last weekend and figures to miss time until the end of December.

Andrew Bogut

Also exiting early from that game was Bucks center Andrew Bogut who banged knees with Dwight Howard, and could miss a couple weeks. Apparently nothing major was discovered during routine tests after the injury but there is some swelling in there and obviously pain. The problem is you never know how this type of contusion will react to treatment and rest. When contact is made with the front of the kneecap, the back of that bone can bang up against the front of the femur so one knee to knee contusion can cause injury to three different structures…the front and back of the patella and the front of the femur, not to mention the cartilage that covers both structures. Depending on the severity of those bruises, there could be a lot of swelling in there, and if so it could be a while before he gets back in the lineup. There's just no way a basketball player can run and jump effectively when there's pain in that area.

Jermaine O'Neal

Jermaine O'Neal is also battling some pain in his surgically repaired left knee, to go with a minor ankle sprain. J.O. was taken down last Friday night against the Nets, returned for a short stint against Celts on Sunday, but then missed practice Monday and Tuesday and a game versus Charlotte on Wednesday. All sides claim there was no major scare with the knee, just some soreness and also the pain of that ankle sprain. O'Neal should be considered day to day, so it probably isn't a major concern, but you never know with someone with his history battling injuries. For now just hope he can play tonight versus Atlanta before a three game trip out to the West Coast.

Kevin Martin

Kings guard Kevin Martin has been hobbled recently by a sprained ankle he originally suffered November 5th, then aggravated during another game November 9th. At the time he was putting up the big numbers we have grown to expect from him, but this is more evidence that even the slightest ankle sprain can force a player to the bench for up to a month or more. Optimistically, after two weeks without running Martin was finally able to practice earlier this week. He had mostly positive results and has been getting extra treatment since. That tells me he's getting close, but with back to back games Friday and Saturday, I would be surprised to see him put up any significant minutes until next week anyway.

Other Updates

Finally Shane Battier was back in the lineup Wednesday night in Houston, but Tracy McGrady was out due to lingering pain in his knee. He's listed as day to day, but expects to play Saturday night. At this point who knows? The only sure thing is that this will probably continue for some time.

For Rockets fans at least they didn't lose Yao Ming for to significant absence. After sitting out a game with that foot/ankle injury last week, he has played four games in six nights since and put up the numbers you expect to see from an All-Star center.

Josh Howard, on the other hand, who sprained his ankle about ten days ago, has not returned to games yet. He's been able to practice so a return is coming. It could be tonight versus the Lakers or tomorrow in Sacramento but he's still a game time decision so stay tuned.

Jim Russo is a certified athletic trainer with a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology.

Article first appeared on 11/29/08