After Nerlens’ injury last week, I think all of us thought back to the times earlier this season he had fallen and his toothpick thin legs as ominous warning signs. The Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach did some digging into Nerlens’ high school knee injury, which may have more to do with his ACL injury than we previously thought:
Five games into his sophomore season at Everett (Mass.) High, Noel fractured a growth plate in his left knee and missed the rest of the year. John DiBiaso, his former coach, said in a phone interview that doctors told Noel to rest the knee through the summer. But, DiBiaso said, Noel started playing with his travel team in March at the urging of his advisors.
Dr. Robin West, an orthopedic surgeon on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ medical staff, said complications from growth plate injuries, such as deformity or malalignment, become more likely if an injury is not given proper time to heal. Those problems, sometimes so subtle that the patient does not even know they exist, can be foreboding.
“If the leg healed awkwardly and (Noel) had a malalignment in that knee,” Dr. West said, “that could predispose him to future injuries in that leg.”
Himmelsbach cites another doctor who says that Nerlens’ growth plate fracture could affect how doctors perform his ACL surgery since the patella tendon used to repair it may have been weakened by the previous injury.
Or, you know, he just ran into that post at an awkward angle. Regardless, get well Big Fella.