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NBA Injury Analysis: Talk to the Hand

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.

Anthony Davis

The top fantasy option this season will miss a substantial amount of time after suffering a fractured bone in his left hand. He suffered the injury after hitting the rim on an attempted alley-oop. The Pelicans have not specified what bone Davis broke but it likely was a metacarpal. The metacarpals are the long bones that make up the hand and sit just distal to the carpal bones. Metacarpal fractures are quite common in the NBA with multiple stars including Carmelo Anthony, Tony Parker, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving missing time at various points of their careers with similar injuries. However, the key to Davis' recovery is the term non-displaced. This simply means the bone broke but remains aligned. This should allow Davis to avoid surgery and make a quicker recovery.

Davis' hand will be casted but the budding star will be able to run and maintain his conditioning level during his time off. He may be allowed to continue basketball-related activities with his good hand, though it will be under careful supervision to insure the injured hand is not placed at risk. In the meantime, New Orleans should turn to Ryan Anderson at power forward. Greg Stiemsma is still recovering from an MCL sprain, leaving the door open for Lou Amundson and Al-Farouq Aminu to see an increase in playing time.

The Clippers

The Clippers offense takes a big blow with J.J. Redick suffering a fractured pisiform bone in his right hand. The pisiform is a small, pea-shaped bone, located at the base of the pinkie and is one of the eight small carpal bones that make up the wrist. The pisiform is situated near the hamate, a more frequently broken carpal bone. Baseball players are prone to injuries in this area and players like Pablo Sandoval and Ken Griffey Jr. have undergone surgery following carpal bone fractures. Each of these players required a surgical procedure in which the hamate is actually removed rather than repaired. A similar procedure can be done for pisiform fractures and don't be surprised if this becomes an option following Redick's Monday meeting with a hand specialist. The success rate for the surgery is high, meaning Redick should be able to return to play without any difficulties or limitations.

Even if surgery is required, Redick could be back in six-to-eight weeks. However, he also suffered an additional injury during his fall that could complicate the issue. Redick significantly sprained the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) at the base of his right thumb. The UCL is the primary stabilizer of the thumb and the same ligament that Bucks center Larry Sanders recently injured. Sanders required surgery, and it appears that could also be a possibility for Redick given the severity of the sprain. The thumb will also be examined Monday in his visit with the specialist.

Unless the doctor finds some unforeseen complication, it is appears Redick will be out at least six weeks, and an eight week recovery seems more logical. He could need additional time to rediscover his shooting stroke as he regains range of motion and strength in his wrist and thumb. Willie Green has joined the starting lineup and will see an increase in minutes while Jamal Crawford will remain in his sixth man role for the time being. The rotation will be stretched thin for at least two more weeks as forward Matt Barnes recovers from surgery to repair a tear in the retina of his left eye.

The retina is the portion of the eye directly responsible for vision. The retina translates light taken in through the eye into electric signals that are then sent to the brain. Various portions of the retina are responsible for direct vision and peripheral vision. Any damage to the retina can reduce an individual's ability to see and may create flashes or floating spots within the normal frame of vision.

If the retina does not detach then treatment is fairly straightforward. An ophthalmologist will use a laser procedure to fix the tear by creating small burns around the injury site, designed to stimulate the healing process and prevent detachment and fluid accumulation. Barnes has already undergone the surgery and is in the recovery process. He's expected to miss an additional two weeks but should be fine upon his return. Barnes will be able to maintain his conditioning and may opt to wear protective eyewear when he returns to the court.

Fast Breaks

Kobe Bryant: Bryant continues to practice with the team, though a final decision regarding his return to games remains up in the air. A Friday return against Sacramento remains a strong possibility, though benching Bryant in weekly leagues is advised. Los Angeles only plays twice this week, and we've yet to see how explosive Bryant will be upon his return. Remember, Achilles ruptures are an extremely difficult injury to return quickly from, and even Kobe's unparalleled mindset may not be enough for an immediate return to an elite level of play.

LeBron James: James continues to produce despite playing with a sore lower back. He started the season bothered by the pain but appeared to have moved past the injury. However, he aggravated the injury in Toronto over the weekend and could be in line for a day off. Continue to start the reigning MVP in all formats but know he's not completely 100 percent.

Pau Gasol: Gasol will undergo an MRI on his right ankle after experiencing lingering soreness in the joint. He sprained the ankle late last week and struggled Sunday against Portland. The Lakers catch a break in the schedule and don't play their next game until Friday against the Kings. The extended time off should allow Gasol enough necessary time to be available, but he may be worth benching in weekly formats. To make things worse, he is also dealing with a sprained right pinkie.

Paul Pierce: The Nets announced Pierce suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right hand, specifically the third metacarpal. He is expected to miss at least two weeks but don't be surprised if it is longer, given that the injury was to his shooting hand.

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