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An Elton Brand Update, and An Anecdote

This is the play that knocked EB out. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)I just received an e-mail from someone in the Sixers organization a couple of minutes ago. Elton Brand will have an MRI tonight, results probably tomorrow.

I'm going to interject my own personal history with this injury. I'm not a doctor, this is just my experience with a dislocated shoulder.

When I was a junior in high school, I slid head-first into second base while attempting to steal the bag. I avoided the tag, but over-slid the bag. I tried to lunge back with my right hand to get the bag, but my left arm was trapped under my chest. Initially, it felt like something was terribly wrong with my body, but it didn't hurt that much. When I rolled over onto my back, the shoulder popped back into place and that's when the pain came. Probably the most excruciating pain I've ever felt in my life.

It was a dislocation, we were in the middle of our season, making a push for the playoffs. The doctors said that without surgery it would probably happen again, and again. Each time the ligaments would get looser and looser. Surgery meant months of rehab. I opted to immobilize it in a sling for 10 days, then I was back on the field.

Over the next 10 years or so, I'd say my shoulder popped out of joint probably 10-20 times per year. Ironically, it never happened during a baseball game again. It happened almost exclusively when I was playing basketball. There's a physical movement that's unique to basketball that turns your arm into a lever and causes more torque in the shoulder than damaged, or stretched out, ligaments can handle.

Imagine this, a basketball is thrown just out of reach, you have to fully extend your arm to reach it. You get just the tips of your fingers on the ball, the only thing left to stabilize your arm is your shoulder at the point. Your wrist is locked, your elbow is locked, all the torque goes directly to your shoulder. You'd be surprised how often it happens in a basketball game.

That's why, even without the MRI, I think the odds of Elton Brand returning quickly are extremely low. If I had to bet, I'd say this is going to require surgery and a long rehab period.

Again, just my personal experience, but I thought I'd share it. If you recall, Dwyane Wade had the same injury, although I think it was more severe, two years ago. He didn't get the surgery initially, then barely made it back, and probably shouldn't have. He had surgery in the off season.

Keep in mind that we don't know the severity of the injury, and we really don't know if it was a separation or a dislocation.

That's all I have for tonight. Let's wait to see what the official word is tomorrow, then we'll take a long, hard look at what this team should do going forward.
by Brian on Dec 17 2008
Tags: Basketball | Elton Brand | Injuries | Sixers |