Several professional athletes have sustained major injuries or been diagnosed with serious conditions in recent weeks, including Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving and New York Mets third baseman David Wright.
Irving, 23, fractured his kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday and will undergo season-ending surgery in the coming days. Wright, meanwhile, has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis – a potentially career-threatening injury.
Irving, who missed time earlier in the postseason, was having a great game when he suffered his non-contact injury in overtime against Golden State. He had 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks in 44 minutes.
“Well, at the end of the game he made that great block on Steph Curry, and he had his tendinitis that was diagnosed by Dr. Andrews about a month ago,” Dr. Jason Fond – head of orthopedics at Nyack Hospital – said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He had an MRI in May that showed he had tendinitis. No fracture, obviously. And then he went down – a weird kind of fall in overtime – and he didn’t hit it. He didn’t knock it on the floor. It was just a weird injury. The MRI showed that he had a fracture. Now I have to imagine that’s almost like a stress fracture. I don’t think the pieces separated. I think it’s more he had a crack in the bone, which makes more sense. Because if it was blown apart, he wouldn’t have been able to walk. He walked off the floor, (and) they would have to cart him off. But given what he does for a living, that is something that they’re more aggressive operating on, so he’ll probably have a couple of screws put in and then they can start aggressively rehabbing him.”
Irving is expected to be out three to four months.
“The bone takes (about) six weeks to heal and then the muscles need to be rehabilitated and everything,” Fond said. “You get back into shape and that’s three or four months.”
Wright, meanwhile, has the same condition that ended Lenny Dykstra’s career. Dykstra, a World Series champion and three-time All-Star, played in the bigs for more than a decade – from 1985 to 1996 – but he said he couldn’t play baseball on a daily basis with spinal stenosis.
Dykstra was 33 when he last played and 35 when he officially retired. Wright turns 33 in December.
“Stenosis means narrowing,” Fond explained. “So there are these little holes in your spine where the nerves come out and they got to the muscles in your legs. If those little areas are narrowed, that’s what stenosis is. The muscles get affected and it gives you pain and weakness. It really depends on how severe it is. I mean, you can have mild stenosis and you can get back to playing. If it’s significant, that could be it. That’s very serious.”