The hook here is not the Atlanta Hawks closing out the series against the Boston Celtics. The hook I am referring to is the one that may be coming for Isaiah Thomas after the 2 jabs he has taken with ankle sprains in consecutive games. With game 4 and game 5 concluding with Thomas experiencing a “tweak” to his left ankle, you can almost feel the knock out blow coming.
I love boxing and I love boxing analogies. I am currently reading Gary Vee’s book jab, jab, jab, right hook; I hit the heavy bag 2 or 3 times per week; and look forward to boxing matches more than almost any sport aside from football. The beauty of boxing is that once you really understand it, you can predict what is coming. For me, injuries are very similar. When I see a good boxer working their jab all fight; I know a straight right is coming. Once the straight right starts landing, you can expect the left hook. It’s a natural progression in the combination.
With Isaiah Thomas who seems to have a weak left ankle, there is also a natural progression. An ankle that proves to be weak will ask for help. This help may come in the form of taping or bracing; it may come in the form of asking his other joints to chip in a do a little more work. Either scenario will eventually end poorly. A joint that is helped too much causes an overall disruption in the chain of joints and heightens the chance of injury. A joint that is injured and not supported enough to protect it from further injury will eventually suffer a more serious injury. This means that Thomas is likely headed for a more serious ankle sprain or possibly a knee or foot injury on that left side. His probability of this happening will continue to progress if the Boston Celtics season can be extended and Brad Stevens continues his trend of playing his guards for huge minutes.
If you are investing in Thomas for fantasy basketball or picking the Celtics to tie this series up; I would at least consider that Isaiah Thomas is approaching red flag territory with his injury probability; and without him the Celtics do not have much of a chance.
Remember that Injury Science is real and these injuries are not just bad luck or random. While I may not have a hard data print out to show you Isaiah Thomas’ exact risk for injury (yet), you can trust that all the warning signs are there. The best thing for Thomas’ ankle will be a long rest. So while his mind will be pushing for game 7, his body may be shutting down for the off-season.
With the news on Chris Paul starting off so bleak, I know many will think this is a silly question. However I would make the case that this is a very interesting question as the recovery time for these 2 superstars is a lot closer than many of you think.
(Micheal Buffer voice: Lets get ready to Rumblllllllllllllleeeeeeeee)
In the red corner we have the future hall of fame CP3. Chris Paul is reported to have undergone surgery to his fractured 3rd metacarpal on Tuesday morning and the reports have him being re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks. The advantage that Chris Paul has in this match up that may seem one-sided is that his recovery is very predictable. The surgeon went in and fixated the bone in a position that will allow healing and now Paul simply has to keep the hand immobilized and see how fast he can start the healing process. I say start the healing process as it is not necessary that Chris Paul completely heal in order for him to get back on the court. His pre-requisites will likely be that the fracture site is stable and not at risk for re-injury and that he can tolerate the pain that may occur with contact. This does not require that he go through all 3 stages of healing and reach 100 percent, especially considering that any attempts at a comeback this season would have to mean the Clippers are deep in a playoff run. While Paul is the obvious under dog here, he is definitely a live bet when you consider that orthopedic surgeons are constantly improving their techniques, Physical Therapist are using modalities and techniques that improve healing times and manage pain better than ever, and the supplement world is always coming up with items that we can ingest to make our bodies heal as quickly as possible. If the L. A. Clippers can show that they can get to the second round, I could see Paul beating the odds and returning in 4 weeks.
In the Yellow corner, we have the baby face assassin. Stephen Curry is reported to have a grade 1 MCL sprain as well as a right ankle sprain that I suspect is still in the healing phases as well. Steph has been the one that everyone seems to believe will be back with no problem, but as I outlined in my earlier post;Stephen Curry’s right leg is infested. The disadvantage for Steph is that his injury is to his foundation. There is nothing he will be able to do on the basketball court that will allow him to ignore his injured right leg. In fact his actual rehab program has to be managed carefully so that the efforts to rehabilitate the injured structures in his right leg do not backfire and cause those same structures to fail. There is a fine line between rehabilitating an ankle and fatiguing an ankle; there is also a fine line between strengthening the structures around a knee and overworking the knee to the point that it fails once tested during game conditions. The fine line of repetitive treatment and re-assessment that Steph is undergoing now is why Physical Therapist are now at a mandatory Doctorate level and Athletic Trainers are making big bucks to basically eat, breathe and sleep rehab with these players. I have confidence that the Golden State Warriors training staff is up to the challenge with Steph Curry, but at the end of the day his right leg will have to go out and take every force, every impact, and every minute of workload. Although I consider Steph to be the favorite in this matchup; I would have a hard time picking him with confidence because of the multitude of variables.
In the end we have 2 very determined players that I am sure will do everything they can to get back on the court. This matchup may be actually mimic a real boxing matchup as there is a good chance that we will not get to see it play out; thanks to Blake Griffin’s quad and the Portland Trail Blazers. But if they do somehow meet in the second round, don’t be surprised if CP3 is suiting up within a week of Stephen Curry’s return. I would be even less surprised if Steph suffers another injury to his right side or at this point to the left side that is likely starting to compensate for the plagued right leg. If both of these things occur, we would likely have a competitive series. It will be interesting to see it all play out.
In any case answer the survey above and tell me what your think.