The 2014-2015 season is picking up right where last year ended as the injury bug continues to claim players. Just hours after the first media days of the season had wrapped up, the Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes reported that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had suffered a fractured hand after a fall in his home. Surgery was required to mend the break and the former All-Star is expected to miss at least six weeks.
Sources tell the Globe that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo suffered a broken hand and had surgery today. Return timetable is unclear.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) September 26, 2014
Holmes reports that Rondo suffered a metacarpal fracture in his left, non-shooting hand. The metacarpals are situated between the carpal bones of the wrist and the bones of the finger and serve as an anchor site for muscle attachment. Additionally the tops of the metacarpals form the knuckles. This positioning leaves them vulnerable to breaking following a direct blow, an axial load (like a punch), or a fall onto outstretched hand (FOOSH). Two of these classic mechanisms of injury, a FOOSH and an axial load, fall in line with reports that Rondo slipped getting out of the shower and hit his hand.
Regardless of how it occurred, hand fractures are quite common in the NBA. Last season seven players, including former Celtic Paul Pierce, Pelican center Anthony Davis, and Finals MVP Kawai Leonard, suffered fractured metacarpals. Two of these players, Houston’s Patrick Beverley (29 days) and Golden State’s Ognjen Kuzmic (38) needed surgery.
The associated recovery time is dependent on several factors, the first being the specific bone broken. The second and third metacarpals, below the pointer and middle fingers, are tightly anchored to the carpal bones and are largely immobile. The fourth and the fifth metacarpals, located below the outside two fingers, are mobile to allow for a high degree of motion at the wrist and pinkie. Because of this mobility, fractures to the fourth and fifth generally require additional time to heal.
Another factor to consider when establishing a recovery time line is the nature of the break itself. If the broken pieces of the bone remain aligned, it is considered a non-displaced fracture. If the position of the bone shifts following the injury, it is considered displaced and surgery is often required to insure a proper union of the bone fragments.
The exact metacarpal Rondo injured has not yet been reported. However since he has already undergone surgery, it is safe to assume his fracture was displaced. The team has provided an estimated timeline of six-to-eight weeks, meaning recovery could spill into the regular season. The Celtics open the season on October 29, 33 days after Rondo’s surgery. However Rondo being available for the opener against the Nets shouldn’t be ruled out either. Last season Beverley returned to the Rockets lineup 29 days after surgery for a fractured fourth metacarpal and Kuzmic’s recovery from a fractured fifth metacarpal lasted just 38 days. Furthermore Rondo’s break is isolated to his non-shooting hand, meaning the adjustment back shouldn’t be as great.
The injury remains a setback for a player limited to just 30 games last season after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. However Rondo should be able to miss minimal time and the injury should do little to stop the trade speculations surrounding the Boston point guard.