Dime Q&A: Expert Surgeon Talks Manu Ginobili & Hand Injuries

01.30.12 5 years ago 2 Comments
Manu Ginobili

Already this season, we’ve seen star players go down. Zach Randolph is out for a long time. So is Al Horford. No one knows how Manu Ginobili will play when he comes back. And no one really knows how much injuries are affecting Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Gerald Wallace. A part of me wants to say it’s the shortened season, but face the facts: Injuries happen every year.

No one is feeling the pain more than the Spurs though. They’re sitting on the edge of the playoffs at 12-9, playing just .500 ball in their last 10. Without the best player in the NBA – he may not be, but he was undoubtedly playing like perhaps the best player before getting hurt – the Spurs go from being a threat to just a bump in the road. But even some of the West’s elite are having trouble. Chris Paul could be dealing with a nagging hamstring injury all season. Over the summer, we caught up with a surgeon, Dr. Bal Raj, to help break down some of the game’s most important injuries. We’ve done it again.

I caught back up with Dr. Raj – who was named one of the “Top Orthopedic Surgeons in Los Angeles and a Leading Physician of the World” by the International Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, and someone who has a lot of experience with high-profile athletes – to talk injuries. Ginobili should be back sometime in March, but hand injuries are different for everyone. And if you think those are unpredictable, just ask someone like CP3 what having a strained hammy is like.

*** *** ***

Dime: We’ve had a lot of finger/hand injuries already this season (Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili, Gerald Wallace). But there are a lot of different ways a bone in your finger or hand can break correct?
Dr. Bal Raj: Yeah. You can have dislocations, tendon ruptures. You can have fractures outside of the joint or involving the joint. You also have different joints in your fingers. The question, number one, is is this a stable fracture? And number two is, can you actually play with this?

Dime: What do you mean by a stable fracture?
DBR: You can have fractures that are undisplaced, meaning it is just a hairline crack so that type of fracture, there’s no displacement of the bone. And when there’s no displacement, it’s because generally your ligaments and most of the bone are still intact. That’s considered a stable fracture. What you’ll see is maybe bruising around the finger but you won’t see any deformity.

Dime: What happens if you keep trying to play through that?
DBR: Let’s say you have a hairline fracture and you don’t protect it, number one you’re at a high chance that it, through a simple or minimal mechanism which could be catching a basketball, become a complete fracture and displacing. So it definitely can get worse.

Number two, once you have a fracture, the secret is to mobilize it because what’s happening is your body is bringing in all of its mediators around for inflammation, bone healing and bone repair. If you’re active on that fracture, you will significantly slow that process because you’re causing repeated damage to that area.

Dime: Ginobili had surgery on his fifth metacarpal. Are there any bones in your hand that are more troublesome to hurt?
DBR: The general rule of thumb is anything around the metacarpals involving the joint are usually bad. Whenever anything involves a joint… if you have a fracture that’s outside of a joint, that’s a much better prognosis because fractures are real and if they don’t heal, we can make them heal with plates and screws. But the point is if it’s outside of the joint, it won’t cause any restriction or range of motion or stiffness in the joint or arthritis. The worst type of fractures are ones that involve a joint.

Around The Web

The Fascinating Rise Of Third Man Records As The Most Influential Vinyl Label In America

03.21.17 4 days ago 2 Comments

A Little Booze And A Lot Of Big Ideas Are Keeping Movie Theaters Relevant

03.17.17 1 week ago 7 Comments

The Unheralded True Story Of The NBA’s First Black Player

03.14.17 2 weeks ago

How TV And Evolving Media Technology Changed The American Presidency

03.07.17 3 weeks ago 2 Comments

How The Spice Girls’ Legacy Of ‘Girl Power’ Paved The Way For Women To Dominate Pop

02.27.17 4 weeks ago 4 Comments

How Keeping Austin Weird Turned Into A Widespread Phenomenon

02.15.17 1 month ago 12 Comments

How Kevin Gates Went From Underground To Platinum In A Year And Changed The Game In The Process

02.02.17 2 months ago 6 Comments

Look For The Star: How Starter Jackets Became The Iconic Clothing Of The Early ’90s

01.31.17 2 months ago 10 Comments

‘Dream, Try, Do Good’: The Oral History Of ‘Boy Meets World’

01.31.17 2 months ago 6 Comments

How Frank Barsalona Created The Modern Rock Concert And Got Himself Into The Hall Of Fame

01.30.17 2 months ago

The Story Behind Gus Fring’s Stunningly Explosive Moment On ‘Breaking Bad’

and 01.30.17 2 months ago 5 Comments

How Toronto’s Boosie Fade Transformed From A Rap DJ Night Into A Digital Movement

01.12.17 2 months ago

Infiltrating The Bills Mafia To Find Out Why Fans Keep Supporting The NFL’s Most Hopeless Team

01.01.17 3 months ago 8 Comments

From Ray Charles To Jimi Hendrix: How Seattle Helped Create R&B And Rock And Roll

01.01.17 3 months ago 6 Comments

‘Stop Crying And Fight Your Father’: ‘Seinfeld’ Writers Tell How Festivus Came To Be

and 12.23.16 3 months ago 12 Comments

The Lasting Impact Of Adidas Tearaway Pants On Hip-Hop And A Hoops Generation

12.08.16 4 months ago 2 Comments

Understanding The History And The Motivations Behind The Standing Rock Protests

12.02.16 4 months ago 6 Comments

How Do We Combat The Intensifying War On Science?

and 11.30.16 4 months ago 30 Comments