This has “I told you so” all over it, but I can’t help it. After the Golden State Warriors dominated the Houston Rockets, I proposed that Stephen Curry simply sit the 2nd round series out vs. the Portland Trail Blazers and get at least 3 weeks of healing. Instead, the Golden State Warriors rushed Curry back in a little over 2 weeks. Although Curry was not awful for the rest of the playoffs, he definitely was not his MVP self. I blame this solely on the status of his right leg and having to endure two seven game series in a row. The thing about injuries is that re-injury is not always the only risk. Poor performance is just as bad as being unavailable in most cases, and we all saw that Steph played poor in game 7. The insiders for the team admitted to seeing Curry’s knee appearing red and swollen after games as he continuously received treatment throughout the playoffs. Steph himself would not go into detail about his injuries, but his tone said it all.
I know that the Golden State Warriors training staff is very capable, but I hope there is a lesson learned for the future here. Just because a player can take the court, doesn’t mean he should take the court. I believe that the Warriors would have taken care of the Blazers without Stephen Curry in the second round and at the very most Curry should have only played in the case of an elimination game. The extra rest would have allowed his to fully heal and may have made a big difference in the rest of the Warriors playoff run. I guess the Trail Blazers looked alive enough to scare the team into rushing their MVP back on the court and I believe this is at least part of the reason Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are celebrating right now.
In the end, poor usage of Injury Science may have cost the Golden State Warriors HISTORY.
All eyes will be on Steph Curry and Lebron James on Sunday night but in my opinion, there is someone else that will decide this game 7. If you watch enough basketball, you know that Tristan Thompson’s performance is very unlikely to be repeated on the road, as role players tend to only shine that bright at home. With the Cleveland role players coming back to earth, I think we can expect Lebron and Kyrie Irving to carry the load like they did in game 5. Additionally, we can assume that by returning home that the Warriors role players will step their games up. But there is one person that I bet no one is looking at as having the biggest role for Sunday night’s game….take your guess before you read on.
If you guessed Andre Iguodala you are the close, but not quite. Chelsea Lane is actually my guaranteed MVP for Sunday night. In her case the P stands for PhysioTherapist or as the Warriors label her “head performance therapist”. She is the lady who always has her collar popped on the sidelines. You probably noticed her massaging Andre Iguodala’s back in game 6.
When you go back to my theory that the role players for Cleveland will return to their shells, it leads you to the fact that stopping Lebron from scoring will be essential in the Warriors getting this win. No one in the world is better equipped to stop Lebron James than Andre Iguodala, but if his back is not allowing him to move, the Warriors are in big trouble. This leads us back to Chelsea Lane.
The status of Iguodala’s back will be mostly on Lane in preparation for game 7. While the exact diagnosis for Iguodala has not been reported, he appears to have a low back strain/sprain type injury. Generally this is a minor issue that does not take long to manage, however it does typically take more than 2 days. If this were more of a typical rehabilitation for a back injury, the responsibility is more of a shared burden between the player and the rehab staff; but in this case I put the majority of the task on the staff. Andre Iguodala will likely be receiving a regimen that is modality heavy over the 68 hours that separate game 6 and game 7. These modalities will help loosen and relax the injured area, while also helping healthy blood flow to the area to support healing. Additionally, Chelsea Lane is likely to give a good amount of manual therapy to the area to manipulate and mobilize the tissues in his low back.
It is doubtful that Iguodala will have much of an active role with his short-term therapy as this may lead to fatigue in his low back and therefore elevate his risk for recurrence during the game. This puts the ball almost solely in the hands of Lane and her staff to make sure that the reigning Finals MVP can help the Golden State Warriors win a second championship. While Lane will not be playing on Sunday night, she will need to be on her game during the break between games to likely decide the NBA champion. I literally believe the Warriors have no chance if she does not do her job well.
With an abundance of experience with these types of injuries and knowing the pedigree of Chelsea Lane, I am 1000 percent sure that Andre Iguodala will at least take the court on Sunday night. The measure of how well Lane manages this injury will be based on how long he can play. Back injuries are impossible to run from as your back has to be active in nearly every movement you make. For many patients I use back stability braces or other adaptive equipment to protect from re-injury; but with basketball players this is not much of an option due to the flexibility demands on the basketball court. Lane will simply have to hit that perfect balance of helping Iguodala be loose but not too loose, so that he can survive for about 30 minutes on the court. Furthermore, she will have to keep him loose when he is not on the court. I expect moist heat, bike riding, and anything else that will keep his low back warmed up.
In the end I believe the Physical Therapy that Andre Iguodala receives will decide the the NBA championship. With that said, I am betting on therapy and Chelsea Lane to succeed!
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.
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