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NBA Injury Analysis: In Street Clothes...

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

Corey Brewer

The knee injury sustained by T-wolves forward Corey Brewer probably won't derail anyone's fantasy league this year, but it will definitely end his season so it's worth a look.

Brewer tore the ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, in his right knee, which is a major stabilizing ligament inside the knee joint. It connects the femur to the tibia and prevents anterior -- forward -- movement of the tibia when the femur is in a fixed position. Sometimes it tears during hyperextension injuries. Sometimes it can be forced into an awkward position by outside contact, and it ruptures. Other times it results from a non-contact injury and can tear just from landing on it wrong. Basically this is a common injury all over the sports medicine world, one that has been researched extensively, but will never be eradicated completely. The fact that it is so common is actually a good thing for Brewer because of the advances made in the surgical correction of a torn ACL. During the procedure a replacement ligament is taken either from the patient's patella tendon, hamstring tendon or a cadaver ligament called an allograft, which is fed through the knee joint via drill holes in the tibia and femur in the area of the original ligament. After about six to eight months of rehab, the replacement ligament is usually strong enough for athletes to return to activity.

Not too long ago it was definitely a year or more of recovery time for professional athletes. Before that it may have ended some careers, but orthopedic surgeons have really taken this procedure to another level, and high level athletes have benefited from it ever since. Often there is cartilage injuries associated with ACL tears, that may or may not be the case here, but it really shouldn't matter in the long run. Once he has the operation, he'll have all the time he needs to recover and be ready for training camp next season. All things considered, for a 22 year old player on the rise in the league, it's unfortunate but not the end of the world.

Elton Brand

The Sixers big off season acquisition, Elton Brand, who is leading the team to this point in points and rebounds will miss some time this week with a hamstring strain. Brand missed the last 17 minutes of Wednesday night's loss to the Lakers with the injury, and will definitely be out for Friday's matchup in Detroit. The hamstring, like the quad, is a group of muscles…in this case three…that makes up the back of the thigh. The action is to flex the knee and it also assists in extending the hip, as in kicking the leg backwards. It also helps to slow down the body from all out sprints. We've covered a lot of muscle injuries to this point, and they're all somewhat similar. They obviously hurt but they are more performance limiting than anything else. Meaning, as long as he didn't tear the muscle completely, and he didn't because we would have heard more about it, he's probably not in that great a deal of pain. But if he tried to sprint up and down the court tonight, he simply wouldn't be able to do it at a high level. Usually muscle strains of this type take a week at least to heal, but sometimes as much as two or three. Either way, I think it's a good bet that he's out this weekend, and probably into next Wednesday's game versus the Cavs. Optimistically he may be back by next weekend, but we will have to wait for some more updates to clarify that.

Carlos Boozer

Carlos Boozer had what was originally described as a quad strain, but after some time on the shelf it is now reported as a strained quad tendon. Muscle tissue is a contractile substance that shortens when stimulated by the nervous system. At both ends, they form tendons, which is connective tissue that doesn't contract. The tendons connect to bone, but they can be injured as well as the muscles themselves. A muscle strain and a tendon strain is more or less the same thing, just in a different area of the muscle. At this point he's already missed eight games but he feels some improvement so, optimistically we could see him back on the court in the next week or so.

Tracy McGrady

The Tracy McGrady story became a little clearer recently as we learned he'll miss at least the next three weeks to rest and rehab his troublesome knee. At least that clears up some of the confusion for now, but it doesn't do a lot to convince me that he's out of the woods yet. He reportedly doesn't need more surgery, but we have heard that before… see Arenas, Gilbert. As always, we'll be watching the situation to see what develops over the course of those three weeks. Even a best case scenario, he's going to need some time to get back to game speed after that rehab period is over, and then who knows how his knee will respond to increasing minutes during the second half of the season. Again, this story is not over yet.

More Updates:

More updates….Josh Howard should finally be getting back on the court this weekend after missing the last seven games with an ankle sprain.

Jameer Nelson will probably need another week at least to recover from his injury. Originally it was described as a groin strain, but that has been changed to a hip flexor strain. The hip flexor is a different group of muscles, occupying the front of the hip, not the inside where the groin is located. And it does exactly what the name implies, flexes the hip. An example is if you stand on your right leg and lift the other with your knee bent. That action of that left leg is all hip flexor. There can be confusion between these two muscles groups because they are in very close proximity but that shouldn't change the prognosis. Hope fully another week is all it takes.

Finally some players we have covered the last few weeks who made it back on the court in positive fashion….Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Martin, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

And some not so positive... Andrew Bogut started December 3rd against the Bulls and played 27 minutes. He had only five points and 4 rebounds and had to be removed early after getting knocked in the head. My guess is he's questionable for tonight's game, but there should be more updates to come.

And Mike Dunleavy Jr. is set to start practicing in a week to ten days. Obviously there is no guarantee with him at this point but at least he's making progress.

Article first appeared on 12/5/08