How serious is Derrick Rose’s injury?
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose—one of basketball’s most popular players—will be out for the rest of the 2013-14 season after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Rose missed all of last season due to a torn ACL injury in his left knee.
So with this new injury, what’s the outlook for Rose’s future on the court? The prospects for a return next season are good says Dr. Josh Alpert, orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill.
According to Dr. Alpert, the meniscus is essentially the shock-absorbing and load-bearing part of the knee—two functions vital for basketball players. He says there are two treatment options for a torn meniscus—a partial meniscectomy and meniscus repair.
The first is a partial meniscectomy where between 10 to up to 50 percent of the meniscus is arthroscopically removed. The advantage of this procedure is the quick four-week recovery time. In fact, the patient is able to walk on the knee and bend the knee right away. The second is a meniscus repair, which Rose opted for that may require 4-6 months of recovery time. Dr. Alpert says that decision may be better for Rose in the long run.
People who opt for a partial meniscectomy risk problems down the road.
“Once the meniscus is healed, a patient typically has a great recovery with no increased risk of developing arthritis down the road,” Dr. Alpert says. “The downside of a meniscus repair is the slow rehabilitation process that follows, typically four to six months.”
Many times, a patient is on crutches for four to six weeks and cannot place weight on the knee or bend it beyond 90 degrees. After six weeks, a patient begins physical therapy and can begin to apply pressure and bend the knee.
“Most likely, an athlete like Derrick Rose will be cleared to start to return to basketball-type activities about four months after surgery, but because he’ll be out of practice and basketball shape, it will be at least another two months before he can play at a competitive level,” Dr. Alpert says. “That’s why the team is saying he will be out for the entire season.”
Unlike his previous ACL injury, Dr. Alpert acknowledges that a torn meniscus is much less serious. “A meniscus repair is a much easier and faster recovery,” Dr. Alpert says. “Hopefully, Derrick will come back next year and be as good as new. The positive is that he opted for the meniscus repair and shouldn’t have any long-term problems with his knee that could impact his career in the future.”
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