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NBA AM: End Of The Line For Danny Granger?
Posted By Lang Greene On September 24, 2013 @ 8:18 am In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
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Is This The End Of The Line For Danny Granger?
Last season, the Indiana Pacers were just one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance since the 2000 campaign after pushing the two-time defending champion Miami HEAT to the brink in an Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
One player noticeably missing from the lineup was former All-Star forward Danny Granger. The veteran was limited to just five games in 2013 after battling patellar tendinosis in his left knee. Granger received a second injection last October for the condition but it didn’t alleviate the issue after his brief return to the lineup and surgery became the recommended option.
While all signs point toward Granger being available at some point during training camp, there are whispers around the league circulating that Granger is finished as a guy who can consistently play 30-plus minutes over the course of an 82 game season. Granger, as you may recall, was red flagged entering the 2005 draft for a separate issue with the same knee.
So while most are asking is Granger and All-Star forward Paul George can co-exist together, there are legitimate concerns on whether or not the veteran will even be able to return to form.
HOOPSWORLD spoke with Dr. Derek Ochiai, a leading Surgeon and Sports Medicine expert based in Arlington, VA, on what to expect from Granger once he returns to action from his latest procedure.
“I would not say this constitutes the end of the line for Danny Granger.” Dr. Ochiai said. “As for his age, 30 is the new 20, and with the advances in sports medicine, we can definitely keep athletes going longer.”
However, Dr. Ochiai did caution that patellar tendinosis is usually the result of years of wear and tear on knee and that future flare ups are common occurrences.
“The problem with patellar tendinosis is that it is usually NOT from a single one time traumatic event; rather, it is the accumulation of a long time of, in this case, playing basketball,” Dr. Ochiai said. “Getting rid of the scar tissue and rehab and stretching can help, but the tendon may still be prone to [future] flare-ups. But hopefully the flare-ups will be minor and not require significant additional time off.”
The idea of a minute restriction to preserve Granger sounds good in theory but Dr. Ochiai also believes there is no substitute for being on the floor and testing out the knee in game situations. Granger will likely be ushered back slowly but we won’t know the true status of his health until he puts the same stress on the knee as in the past – which contributed to the condition in the first place.
“As for minutes playing, there is really no substitute for being on the court,” Dr. Ochiai said. “Simulating the stress of the game is not necessarily the same as being on the court. Once Granger is cleared to play, it would make sense to slowly increase his minutes per game, because his patellar tendon will be seeing increased stress, and one would like to slowly acclimate the patellar tendon back to the stress of the NBA.”
Here is a bit more from Dr. Ochiai on patellar tendinosis:
Patellar tendinosis is a breakdown of the normal tendon structure. This is “wear and tear”, and the tendon becomes rather soft, and weakens. The patellar tendon is under a lot of stress in basketball, and inflammation and breakdown of the patellar tendon causes pain, thus the term “Jumper’s Knee”. The patellar tendon is part of a “pulley” system with the patella (knee cap) that helps to transmit more power in straightening the knee.
Conservative treatment is VERY appropriate initially (meaning no surgery). This can consist of physical therapy and relative rest. Next stage may be injection, and many times doctors are using PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), to stimulate a healing response to the tendon (similar to former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward’s hamstring injury years ago).
Surgically, the treatment is to debride (or take away) the damaged tendon, which causes the pain, and THEN rehabilitate the rest of the tendon, to get it used to seeing the high forces seen in professional basketball players.
The Pacers spent the offseason bolstering their bench depth. The team signed C.J. Watson, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland via free agency. The team is also reportedly nearing a five-year contract extension with George which could be worth $90 million.
Granger is in the final year of his current deal and is owed $14 million this season. The veteran will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Knicks’ Felton Says Age Held Back Team In 2013: The New York Knicks finished 54-28 last season which was the team’s best campaign since 1997. However, the team was unceremoniously booted from the playoffs in the second round at the hands of the younger Indiana Pacers.
Starting point guard Raymond Felton believes the team was a bit too old to compete down the stretch and feels confident with the team’s current roster possessing the right balance of veterans and athletic youth.
“We’re a younger team this year,’’ Felton told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Kurt Thomas, Rasheed, love them like brothers. [But] those guys were 38, 39, 40 years old. Once they got injuries, they’re out and it hurt us last year. We’ve added Metta [World Peace], [Andrea] Bargnani, Kenyon [Martin] and Amar’e [Stoudemire] are coming back. Tim Hardaway [Jr.] looks great by the way. I’ve been most impressed with him. It gives us depth at that big spot and youth. Those guys are younger.
“No knock to the guys we had last year. Those guys had incredible careers. I wish I could play that long. But we are young. That’s what I’m saying. We’re a younger team this year. We still got depth from last year, but we also have a younger bench. That’s going to help us later in the season.”
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