The Toronto Raptors were one of the early surprises in the NBA, successfully building on the momentum generated during last year’s playoff run. The success of the team’s medical staff is a major reason for the team’s ascension up the Eastern Conference standings. Now the value of Scott McCullough and company will be put to the test with guard DeMar DeRozan suffering a significant lower leg injury.
DeRozan was injured during Friday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He slipped while attempting to cut and was helped off the court. The injury was initially ruled a groin strain though additional tests performed Saturday revealed the All-Star guard tore the tendon of the adductor longus muscle in his left leg.
— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) November 29, 2014
The area most people refer to as the groin is actually a group of muscles known as the adductors. The adductors muscles are responsible for pulling the leg inward toward the body in a direction known as adduction, thus the name. The group includes the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus, and gracilis muscles. In basketball, the adductors play a vital role in lateral (side-to-side) movement as well as jumping. The adductor longus, the specific muscle DeRozan injured, also plays a role in hip flexion.
The location of DeRozan’s tendon tear remains a key factor in determining his length of absence and any potential treatment options. In the best case scenario, the tear is situated near the musculotendinous junction, the area where the tendon and muscle tissue connect. Generally players with these types of injuries do not require surgery and can return somewhere between four to six weeks. The InStreetClothes.com database puts the average missed time for a groin strain reported as Grade 2 or higher at 19 games (roughly six weeks). USA Today’s Sam Amick reports there is optimism that DeRozan could return in four weeks, suggesting this is the type of injury the Raptors guard has suffered.
However things would get more complicated if the tear were located at the point where the adductor longus tendon connects to the pubic bone. This injury is classified as an avulsion injury and generally warrants surgery. If DeRozan ultimately needs a trip to the operating room, his estimated time of recovery could stretch to eight weeks or more, although the case of Kendrick Perkins does provide some reason for optimism. Last season, the Oklahoma City center returned to action 17 games (37 days) after undergoing groin surgery.
Keep in mind, the exact muscle Perkins injured was never publicly revealed and DeRozan’s game is predicated on athleticism significantly more than Perkins. Expect McCullough, along with Director of Sports Science Alex McKechnie, to evaluate the situation thoroughly and explore all possible treatment options available. One potential option could be platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy but only time will tell how the Raptors elect to proceed.