Oklahoma City Thunder officials announced Sunday that their star forward Kevin Durant has been sidelined because of a Jones fracture to his right foot.
According to General Manager Sam Presti, Durant had a complaint of “discomfort” to his right foot following practice on Saturday: “we proceeded to perform the necessary imagining studies to determine the cause of his discomfort. At this stage, Kevin has been diagnosed with a Jones fracture.” He is likely to miss at least eight weeks of action.
What is a Jones Fracture?
A Jones fracture is a broken bone in the midsection of the fifth metatarsal of the foot, at the base near the little toe. It can cause pain and swelling. Jones fractures can be the result of a sudden trauma but commonly occur as the result of repetitive motion and overuse. Limited blood flow to the area where Jones fractures occur can delay the healing process.
A Jones fracture is typically diagnosed utilizing an x-ray of the foot. However, a MRI can be useful to the evaluated the extent of the injury.
How is a Jones Fracture treated?
There are several ways to treat a Jones fracture, but for athletes such as Kevin Durant, a minor surgical procedure to stabilize the fracture is the preferred treatment. A small incision is made along the outside of the foot and a screw is inserted across the fracture. Recovery involves a period of immobilization and non-weight bearing. The fracture typically heals within a 6-8 weeks, followed by physical therapy. The majority of patients returnto their pre-injury activity level or sport without complication once the fracture has healed.
What is Kevin Durant’s treatment plan?
Durant and his team haven’t completely committed to a treatment plan yet, but will most likely include surgery. Durant will likely miss 8 weeks or 20 games if his injury heals without complications. He could be out for a long as 12 weeks depending on if they wait to see how he heals naturally.
But it is important to note that other NBA players have missed more time when recovering from similar injuries. The severity of Durant’s fracture will also play a role in his recovery time.
How common are Jones fractures in athletes?
Although you might not hear the term “Jones fracture” all that often, it’s not a rare injury in professional sports.
In a study conducted over five NFL seasons, nearly 5,000 elite college football players who participated in the NFL Combine were evaluated for this condition. (Note, the “NFL Combine” is where unsigned players are reviewed by all the teams). The results? 86 Jones fractures were identified in 83 athletes.
Another study showed that during five NFL regular seasons, 17 Jones fractures occurred. All were treated with surgery and 16 out of the 17 athletes’ injury completely healed. It was further determined that the intramedullary screw fixation of Jones fractures is the preferred treatment for most physicians who treat elite and professional athletes.
Other NBA players with recent Jones Fracture injuries
Portland Blazers guard C.J. McCollum underwent Jones fracture surgery in 2013 and his recovery was close to 10 weeks. This extended recovery could be due to that the fact that he had a similar injury during his senior year at college.
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez had two season-ending surgeries in January 2014. The first was Jones fracture surgery and the other was a “first metatarsal osteotomy,” which corrects a condition that occurs when a bone repositions itself to overcompensate for, and protect, an injured area. He also had a similar injury in 2011.
Golden State Warriors guard Nemanja Nedovic missed the 2014 FIBA World Cup recovering from a Jones fracture. He’s expected to be recovered in time for the start of the upcoming 2014-15 season.
A Jones fracture essentially ended the career of the scowling big man, Rasheed Wallace. He missed four months of the 2012-13 season, only to come back to play one final game in April.
Many Jones fracture cases are repeat injuries. While this is not the case for Durant, it explains why he and his team will be cautious with his recovery.
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