Danny Granger is expected to be bought out by the Sixers less than a week after Philadelphia acquired him in a deal for guard Evan Turner and center LaVoy Allen. Granger will have a list of suitors that reportedly includes the Heat, Spurs, Bulls, Clippers, and Rockets. However each team will take an extended look at Granger’s injury history before investing in the former All-Star and their findings may determine his final landing spot.
Granger’s medical problems began while he was with the University of New Mexico. During his senior season, Granger suffered a minor tear to the lateral meniscus in his left knee. He underwent surgery and was back on the court three weeks later. The quick turnaround suggests the procedure he underwent was a removal rather than a repair but the injury did not prevent the Pacers from selecting him with the 17th pick of the 2005 Draft.
He remained relatively injury free during his first three seasons with the Pacers. He did suffer two concussions, one in the 2005-06 season and another the following year, but did not miss any time. He suffered a third concussion in his break out campaign during the 2008-09 season in which he averaged 25.8 points per game and was named a reserve on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad. However he also missed 15 games due to injury, including a viral infection, soreness in his right knee, and a partially torn tendon in his right foot that cost him 11 games.
The 2009-10 season would be more of the same as Granger was productive on the court but limited by nagging injuries. He tore the plantar fascia in his right foot and would sit 16 straight games. A mild medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain in his left knee would only cost him one outing but marked the second significant injury to the joint.
The next two seasons were better as Granger played in 141 of a possible 148 games. The main culprit behind his seven missed games was his left ankle that he sprained a reported five times, including once in the postseason during Indiana’s second round matchup against the Heat. However the offseason would bring whispers of a left knee injury suffered during the series and ultimately require Granger to get platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections prior to the 2012-13 campaign.
The pain and soreness would persist through the offseason and carry over into training camp. He appeared in one preseason game before being ruled out indefinitely. After seeking the opinion of several specialists Granger was diagnosed with patellar tendonosis.
The term tendonosis is different from the more commonly known tendinitis. Tendinitis results when a tendon becomes irritated and inflamed and is classified as an acute injury. Tendinitis can often be treated with rest, practice modification, and anti-inflammatory medication. If caught and properly managed early on, tendinitis can be treated in a week to 10 days.
However, tendonosis is classified as a chronic injury and is considered more severe. The condition occurs when a tendon has been damaged and not properly healed or treated. Tendonosis is often very painful as nerve fibers are irritated by the body’s ill-fated attempts to fix the area. The tendon is left weak and unable to properly function. As a result tendinosis requires a considerably longer recovery time.
Granger underwent another injection and the Pacers elected to shut him down for three months. He would return for a brief five game appearance but the pain persisted and his season ended. In April of 2012 renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrew performed surgery on the area to remove scar tissue around the patellar tendon and Granger would spend the next six months rehabbing.
Granger appeared poised to return at the start of this season but strained his left calf during a preseason game against Dallas. Under the astute care of head athletic trainer Josh Corbeil, the Pacers elected to shut down Granger for an extended period of time knowing an injured calf could have a cascade effect on his problematic left knee. After 25 games, he was eased back into the rotation and came off the bench in 27 of his 29 appearances with the Pacers, averaging 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds before the trade to Philadelphia.
Now, on the verge of being bought out, Granger has options on where to resume his playing career. A quick look at the would-be suitors shows the Spurs and their elite medical team would be the most logical choice. Head athletic trainer Will Sevening has shown he knows how to handle aging veterans and is well suited to manage Granger’s health concerns. Miami and Houston should also be near the top of the list given the strength of their medical teams. The Heat has done an amazing job working Greg Oden back into playing shape and could develop a similar plan for Granger. The Rockets currently rank in the bottom 10 for games lost to injury but those numbers are misleading. Omer Asik’s questionable leg injury weighs down their total as the Houston core has remained healthy.
The Bulls and Clippers both have knowledgeable medical teams but each may be overworked managing current injuries. Chicago has their hands full with Derrick Rose’s knee and now Jimmy Butler’s ribs. The Clippers have previously struggled with treating veterans with knee problems though they have successfully gotten Chris Paul back in the lineup after he suffered a shoulder sprain. The team is also busy managing JJ Redick’s myriad of injuries, including a bulging disc in his lower back.
Despite a laundry list of ailments, Granger can still be a productive player if properly managed and treated. Granger should have a new home in the near future and an athletic training staff will be tasked with designing a protocol to keep the forward healthy and on the court.