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NBA Injury Analysis: NBA Injury Updates

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.

LaMarcus Aldridge
As if Blazers fans haven't been through enough already with the retirement of Brandon Roy and yet another setback for Greg Oden, they will have to endure another injury of sorts as Aldridge recovers from a procedure to aid with a preexisting heart condition.

During the final weeks of his rookie season, Aldridge was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW). He missed the final nine games of the season after undergoing treatment. WPW is a condition that affects the natural conducting system of the heart.

Visualize a simple circuit. A battery supplies power to a resistor such as a light bulb allowing it to give off light. A heart has a similar electrical system that controls the pace at which the heart contracts and pumps blood. Now imagine your simple circuit gains an extra pathway to the light bulb. More power can be drawn from your battery and the light bulb can give off more light. WPW is basically an extra circuit in the heart but instead of producing more light, the pace of a person's heart rate is thrown off and elevated. The individual will most often experience episodes of tachycardia or rapid heart rate but occasionally the person can be symptom free.

To eliminate the extra pathway, doctors will utilize a procedure known as radiofrequency catheter ablation. A catheter is inserted near the groin and run up to the heart. There a low-volt, high-frequency energy form is used to wipe out the extra pathway. This is precisely the procedure Aldridge underwent in 2007 yet despite its normally high success rate, it didn't work. The power forward has once again undergone an ablation and was recently cleared to return to practice.

It doesn't appear Aldridge will miss any regular season action however it's always a scary incident when the heart is involved. Draft LA as you normally would yet use this as a reminder that life is bigger than sports.

Carmelo Anthony
Anthony gave Knicks fans a scare in the team's fourth practice of the season. Melo accidently stepped on a teammate's foot and hyperextended his left knee. Fortunately the knee was not seriously injured and Anthony is currently listed as day-to-day. When a joint is extended past its normal end range, tendons and ligaments can be strained and sprained as they are pushed to the limit. In the knee, the aforementioned patellar tendon is the usual victim but Anthony assured his Twiiter followers the knee is ok. Considering the forward underwent offseason surgery on the troublesome the fears of New York fans were not unfounded. Anthony remains a top scoring option for fantasy owners but expect a dip in rebounds with Tyson Chandler joining Amar'e Stoudemire in the backcourt.

Tyreke Evans
The 2010 Rookie of the Year is looking to rebound from a minor sophomore slump that was largely to blame on a case of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Unfortunately things aren't off to a great start as the Kings guard sprained the same foot during a midweek practice. For Evans the key to this type of injury is the location and severity of the sprain. If the sprain is mild, the stability of the joint remains intact despite some pain and swelling. If the damage is more significant, the entire integrity of the foot can be endangered. A sprain to the midfoot would be particularly troublesome. Fortunately it sounds like Evans should be fine but keep in mind he comes with a fair amount of health risk.

Vince Carter
Carter recently joined the Mavericks in hopes of filling a role vacated by the departure of Caron Butler. However the eight-time All-Star was held out of contact drills in his first few practices with Dallas due to a case of knee tendinitis. The patellar tendon of the knee attaches the quadriceps muscle to the lower leg and the kneecap is actually embedded within the tendon. Basketball players are highly prone to developing tendinitis in this area so much that the condition is often known as Jumper's Knee. It's not surprising that a player known for his high-flying dunks would suffer from knee tendinitis, even if Vinsanity doesn't attack the rim as frequently as in the past. Carter was a full participant in practice but considering this is often a chronic issue think about dropping him a few notches on your draft board.

Baron Davis
Without a team after falling casualty to the new amnesty provision, Davis isn't expected to sign with anyone until his injured back improves. Davis and his agent confirmed the veteran guard has a bulging disc in his back. Between each vertebrae of the spine sits an intervertebral disc. These discs serve as shock absorber for the rigorous stress applied through the back. Each disc consists of an outer ring of tough fibrocartilage and a softer, semi-fluid middle known as the nucleus pulposus. For comparison sake let's compare this to a jelly donut. The fried dough (annulus fibrosus) is rigid and prevents the jelly filling (the pulposus) from squirting out. However if ample pressure is applied to the donut, the jelly will eventually give in to the pressure and burst out the side. This is similar to what happens to a vertebral disc if the back is continually compressed or violently twisted. Severity of the injury is dependent on the amount of disc bulging and fortunately for Davis his appears small. He should be able to avoid surgery and plans to use physical therapy to strength and fortify the area. Davis is expected to miss at least eight to 10 weeks drastically decreasing his already limited value.

Fast Breaks

DeMarcus Cousins: The Kings power forward is day-to-day with a right ankle sprain suffered in practice. He was withheld from the team's scrimmage but should be fine for the start of the regular season.

Dirk Nowitzki: The reigning Finals NBA MVP left practice after suffering an illness. It is not expected to be a long-term issue.

Reggie Williams: After signing a two-year deal with the Bobcats, Williams will miss six to eight weeks with a torn meniscus. When healthy, Williams' ability to hit the open three makes him a decent end of the bench player but this injury will cost him quite a few games and diminishes that value considerably.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.