USA Today's For the Win, "What's wrong with Steph Curry's knee, according to a sports injury expert"

Published April 25, 2016
Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry heads off the court and to the locker room at the start of the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Houston. Curry was injured at the end of the first half. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) ORG XMIT: MOJR

By Nina Mandell

The MRI results for Steph Curry’s knee revealed that he is suffering from a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee, the Golden State Warriors announced on Twitter on Monday afternoon. So what does that all mean? Dr. Nicholas Grosso, an orthopaedic surgeon and president of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, spoke to For The Win to explain.

What does it mean that he sprained his MCL?

The MCL is one of the four major stabilizing ligaments around the knee. It’s the one that prevents the knee from buckling inwards, it’s on the inside part of the knee. If you watch the video of his slip and fall, you can see as his left foot slips, his right knee kind of buckles inwards, so that’s when he sustained the injury. It wasn’t when he hit the ground, it was on the slip and fall.

It’s a very common injury. Luckily it’s the one ligament of the knee that will heal without surgery … so the MCL will heal itself. We do grade the tears, one through three. His is a one which means it’s more of a stretch injury, not really a tear. The twos and threes are obviously the more severe injuries with three being a complete tear, which would be season-ending for him.

Complete healing (for grade one sprains) usually take about three weeks, but an athlete at that level … he can probably come back (in two weeks.) He’ll … have to wear a knee brace to protect him for the rest of the playoffs. It’s a significant injury but certainly not what we would consider a real severe injury.

Is this about his ankles?

I don’t think that’s related. If you watch the video … you can just see that left foot just slips on something and the right knee just buckles underneath him because his body weight’s all going in one direction.

Would he have known right away that it was a severe injury?

It hurts. So I’m sure he knew it was a significant injury … I’m sure it was emotional because he knew it was a significant injury, he obviously had no idea how severe it was.

How does he come back from this?

They’re going to be doing a lot in the first few days to reduce the inflammation. So that’s ice, anti-inflammatory medications and rest. But you can rest the MCL without putting the knee completely immobilized. As long as you’re in a brace that prevents you from putting stress on the ligament, you can still bend the knee and that’s the kind of brace he’s going to come back with.

What if he comes back too early?

Certainly you worry about the ligament not being fully healed. But as long as he’s in a knee brace he should be fine. It’s really one of those injuries that you can play with once you get to the point where the pain is gone as long as it’s properly braced.

So what are the chances he’s coming back in two weeks?

Not having seen the MRI, if it really is a grade one I think it’s highly likely he’ll be back in 10 days to two weeks. These guys are in such great physical shape they heal better than the average person would.

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