Why Steph Curry Will Probably Be Back Sooner Rather Than Later

Photo Credit: KNBR

Photo Credit: KNBR

All of DubNation held their collective breath Monday for what probably seemed like an eternity. Awaiting the MRI results on Steph Curry’s knee injury, Warriors fans breathed a sigh of relief with the good news that there was no structural damage and it was just a Grade I MCL Sprain.

But now people want to know- How long will the rehab take? When will Steph be able to get back into the Warriors lineup to lead this team on their march to another NBA Championship?

GM Bob Myers told the media that there are no guarantees (and there aren’t when it comes to rehab because everyone’s different), but expects the timeline to be around 2 weeks. That’s based on typical expectations for a Grade I MCL sprain with a 2-3 week return to activity. It could be longer he said, but I actually think that it will be less than 2 weeks barring any unforeseen circumstances. Let me explain why.

Steph Curry Knee Injury

The Injury

With the replays and pictures of how awkwardly the reigning MVP fell Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Center, I’m sure many were shocked and surprised his injury was not more serious. I saw many a tweet from pundits and professionals alike predicting a more serious MCL sprain or even an ACL tear.

Upon further review of the footage, I noticed two things that helped minimize the stress to Curry’s knee when he fell:

1) His Right Foot Was Not Planted- It actually slipped, just like his left foot did, from the sweat that was on the floor.

2) He Has Good Hip Mobility– His right hip internally rotates when he slips, banging the inside of his right knee into the floor, right where the MCL is.

At first glance, it looks much worse. But because Steph’s hips are mobile, and his right foot is not stuck to the floor, he’s able to preserve the alignment between the right hip/knee/ankle, thus saving his knee.  If either one of those factors were not there, than we may be talking about something else.

LLIstress.jif
The Diagnosis

An MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) sprain is an injury to the ligament on the inside of the knee that connects the tibia to the femur. With these types of injuries, forces usually come from the outside causing what we call a valgus stress to the knee. This valgus stress causes gapping (or stretching) to the inside of the knee resulting in a sprain. With a sprain, there can be partial tearing (Gr. I) all the way up to a complete rupture (Gr. III) of the MCL. These injuries may result in swelling, pain, and tenderness along the inside of the knee where the ligament runs. Higher grade sprains are also associated with instability in the knee when tested manually by a clinician. Gr. I sprains do not show evidence of instability.

But wait? How can Steph have a Gr. I MCL Sprain (partial tear) if there was no structural damage on the MRI? Does he have a tear or doesn’t he?

As I mentioned earlier, it looks like Curry was saved from more serious injury by the way he fell. I actually did not see any valgus stress to the knee when you look at the slow motion replays. What may look like valgus, I believe, is just the way his knee was flexed as he was getting ready to plant that leg.

Without any visible valgus deviation or movement to his knee, Steph should only have sustained minimal, if any, stress to his MCL. He did, however, bang the inside of his knee quite hard into the floor. (You can see this if you watch the replay in real time). Swelling from that would be in the same area as his MCL.

So in the absence of any positive structural findings on the MRI, the diagnosis of a Gr. I MCL Sprain is basically made because he has swelling and tenderness on the inside of the knee in the area of the MCL. It could just as easily be a bad bruise though. There’s no way to really distinguish between the two, all you would see is swelling and pain on the inside of the knee.

Steph Curry Stretching

The Treatment

In the absence of any structural findings, meaning there is no instability in the knee, it’s just managing pain and swelling from here and getting Curry moving when he’s comfortable. Inflammation typically lasts from 48-72 hours after the initial injury, so they won’t know where exactly Curry will be until probably Tues/Wed. As he feels better and moves more, he should continue to improve.

With a top-notch medical staff that has already garnered recognition from Klay Thompson earlier this year for helping him through a back injury, and cutting-edge equipment at their disposal like the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, I have no doubt they will get Steph back in action as soon as it’s safe to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if Steph Curry starts feeling good towards the end of the week. That gives him a few more days to get his legs back under him before he’s released to return to full participation. So my estimate is he’ll probably feel ready to go at around 1.5 weeks (especially knowing that Steph wants to get back on the court with his guys). But as we’ve seen with these playoffs, it will be up to the medical staff and Kerr when he actually gets back on the court.

I’ve been really impressed with how the trainers and therapists have been able to keep guys like Bogut, Iguodala, and Livingston not just healthy, but playing at a very high level. #StrengthInNumbers to me applies to the whole organization. From the fans to the players, coaching staff to the medical team.  That’s why I’m hopeful that Steph will be back sooner rather than later. And that’s why I’m anticipating they’ll make a nice long run this post-season towards another NBA Title.

 

If Your Ankles Are Weak, Then Strengthen Your….Hips?

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A few years ago Steph Curry was having problems with his ankles. Now the All-Star NBA MVP is having an amazing season having missed only 1 game. The secret? A training and injury prevention program that focuses on his….hips. That’s right, his hips.

A great ESPN article came out today to highlight the success Steph has had with this training program. Even though the problem lies all the way down the chain at his ankles, the hip plays a major role in controlling position of the lower body joints. If there is weakness up higher in the chain, the lower joints end up taking more stress. By working on stability at the core, Steph and his trainers have given him a much more stable foundation to move, change direction, accelerate, decelerate, and juke other players out of their shoes.

This is another reason why a good physical therapist, athletic trainer, or doctor doesn’t just focus on the injured area. Remember, the injury is where the athlete broke down, but the cause could be elsewhere. We see that all the time at our clinic. Someone that has plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, knee tendinitis could have the root of their problem at the hips. So just massaging the injured area, applying ultrasound or ice, and exercising the painful body part will only produce temporary results.

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For truly successful outcomes, you need to treat the whole person. Look at Steph. He was good before and treating his ankles allowed him to play and be an All-Star. Treat the whole person, and he’s the NBA MVP and on the verge of an NBA Championship.

What is Active Release Technique?

Those not familiar with the sports arena, may have noticed the acronym A.R.T. being thrown around by a lot of practitioners, especially chiropractors and orthopedic/sports physical therapy facilities. But what is it and how can it help you?

In this blog entry (I know I haven’t posted in a while), I’ll try to shed some light for you on what this is and how you can benefit from it.

What is A.R.T.?

A.R.T. is a patented soft-tissue movement based massage technique with the goal of breaking down scar tissue and restoring mobility. A.R.T. can be used to treat muscle, tendon, fascia, ligament, and nerves. Most conditions successfully treated by A.R.T. have one thing in common: they are overuse injuries.

What are Overuse Injuries?

In short, overuse injuries occur when the body is not able to accommodate the loads placed on tissue over time. As opposed to acute injuries where significant trauma may occur, overuse injuries build over time due to microtrauma. Microtrauma can be the result of athletic activities, or just the repetitive nature of our daily lives (like spending numerous hours at a computer)

What are some Overuse Conditions?

Some examples of Overuse Conditions that could benefit from A.R.T. are:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Jumper’s Knee (Knee Tendinitis)
  • Hamstring Tendinitis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • And much, much more!!

How Do I Get It?

ESPT is one of the few physical therapy facilities in the Tri-City Area (Fremont, Newark, Union City) that offers A.R.T. Another example of our commitment to keeping up with cutting-edge techniques to make sure you get the care you deserve and the results you want.

Our physical therapist Gigi Yee, DPT, ART, CSCS is not only certified in the A.R.T. technique, she’s completed an Ironman distance triathlon, where A.R.T. is considered paramount in helping some of these athletes achieve their goals.

For more information about A.R.T. or to schedule your treatment session at Elite Sports Physical Therapy, give us a call at 510-656-3777 or check out our website at www.espt-ca.com

Another MMA Fighter Working With ESPT

Elite Sports Physical Therapy is pleased to announce that we are working with MMA fighter Dominique Robinson, “The Real Fallen Angel.”

Dominique is a young up and coming MMA fighter who’s origins lie in the deep south of Louisiana. He began his training at American Kickboxing Academy under the tutelage of Bob Cook. He left when Frank Shamrock had a falling out with the gym. After splitting with Frank, he began to offer himself up as a training partner for the Cesar Gracie Fight Team.

Currently Domique works with Felipe Martinez on his boxing and calls this 2-Man Band the “Goon Squad.”He is willing to go where he can to seek knowledge and take is MMA fighting the the next level. At the current time, he is the only fighter to have studied under both the Shamrock and Gracie families. Dominique has a career record of 6-4 with 4 TKO’s and 2 Decisions.

We are proud that we can help Dominique continue to pursue his fighting dreams. You too can have access to the elite care that the The Real Fallen Angel receives. For information how, you can check out our website at www.espt-ca.com.

Go Sho!!

Elite Sports Physical Therapy (ESPT) is proud to be able to help people continue their pursuits. Whether you are trying to get back to work without pain, or compete at the very highest level athletically, Elite Sports PT is the place to go to help you get there.

In this blog, we want to give a shout out to Sho Nakamori who will be competing at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico this week. You can find the schedule here. We wish him and the rest of the US Men’s Gymnastics Team the best. If you want to follow Sho on his journey, not just at the Pan Am Games, but to his ultimate goal, London 2012, you can go to his website at shonakamori.com.

ESPT is not just reserved for elite athletes though. Anyone can come receive the high quality physical therapy care that our clinicians provide. Spending time with patients is how we separate ourselves from our competition. Combining that with the best and newest equipment and first-class customer service, ESPT provides the best physical therapy in the Tri-City and Tri-Valley with offices in Fremont and Dublin.

To schedule an appointment, visit our website at www.espt-ca.com for details.