SportsMedicine Minute: Stephen Curry Knee Injury (MCL)

SportsMedicine Minute: Stephen Curry Knee Injury (MCL)

 We never like to see an athlete injured. Luckily, Steph should bounce back quickly from this particular one.

We never like to see an athlete injured. Luckily, Steph should bounce back quickly from this particular one.

This year the Golden State Warriors set a new standard of team excellence in the NBA, reeling off 73 wins to surpass the 95--96' Chicago Bulls (you know, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, etc.). Everybody knows that you have to be pretty darn awesome as a team to achieve that kind of greatness. 

However, another contributing factor is whether everybody on the team can stay in top condition to continue to kick butt. The Warriors were fortunate that they did stay, for the most part, healthy during their record run. 

Unfortunately for the Warriors, the playoffs have been a little more dicey in that department. In their first round playoff series vs the Houston Rockets, their MVP, the exciting, electric, multi-talented Stephen Curry encountered some truly bad luck.

Slipping upon a wet floor, he strained his right MCL. Luckily, the injury doesn't require surgery. At the same time, it's held him out of a couple of games. People want to know when he's coming back. 

While I'm not his doctor and can't speak on his specific case, I can tell you a bit of what I know about this injury. This is based on my long professional career working with some of the top athletes throughout the world. 

Steph's Injury - When's he coming back?

Steph tore the Medial Collateral Ligament of his right knee when he slipped on the wet floor. If you're a basketball fan like me, you've seen the video repeatedly now. The real question here from a sports medicine perspective is this: 

Why does an  MCL tear heal without surgery and the ACL does not?  

It has to do with the anatomy.  

The MCL is actually outside the knee joint and capsule while the ACL lives within the knee.  The enzymes of the synovial fluid actually bath the ACL and prevent the ligament from healing reliably while the MCL is not part of this "hostile environment".  

We classify MCL tears as

Grade 1 - partial tears without increased looseness

Grade 2 - tears which are still just partial tears but with some increased laxity

Grade 3 - tears which are complete ruptures.  

Amazingly, even complete ruptures of the MCL can and do heal up without surgery, but just take longer.  

How long does it take an athlete to return from an MCL Tear? 

In athletes, we typically say Grade 1 tears (sprains) take 7-10 days to get back to their sport. Grade 2 tears take 3-4 weeks, and Grade 3 tears take 6-8 weeks.  

Of course, we're spending more of our energies trying to speed up Mother Nature with stem cell injections, platelet rich plasma, nutritional supplements, bracing and even crutches. In fact, today's big news is that Stephen is having platelet-rich plasma treatment on the knee: http://www.si.com/nba/2016/05/04/stephen-curry-golden-state-warriors-knee-injury-platelet-rich-plasma-treatment.

In Stephen's case, it sounds like he'll be returning to action sometime during the latter part of the round 2 series with the upstart Portland Trailblazers. According to his doc, he suffered a grade 1 tears, so you can do the math. (Although, if the team keeps playing as it's been without him, the Warriors may opt to rest him til the next round.)The world will certainly be watching.

 Hopefully, Stephen is get backs quickly, is comfortable on the knee, and resumes playing at the same ridiculously high level we've come to expect from this young superstar. 


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 Dr. William Sterett

Dr. William Sterett

Slipping upon a wet floor, Stephen strained his right MCL. Luckily, the injury doesn't require surgery. At the same time, it's held him out of a couple of games. People want to know when he's coming back.  ... http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2016/5/3/stephen-curry-knee-injury


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Slipping upon a wet floor, Stephen strained his right MCL. Luckily, the injury doesn't require surgery. At the same time, it's held him out of a couple of games. People want to know when he's coming back...http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2016/5/3/stephen-curry-knee-injury


For Twitter description... Stephen Curry's Knee Injury...what exactly did he do?#kneepain #sportsmedicine #kneedoctdor http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2016/5/3/stephen-curry-knee-injury

For LinkedIn Description  

Slipping upon a wet floor, Stephen strained his right MCL. Luckily, the injury doesn't require surgery. At the same time, it's held him out of a couple of games. People want to know when he's coming back..http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2016/5/3/stephen-curry-knee-injury


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