Playing Without an ACL
Some background from Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop:
In high school, Blair tore both of his ACLs and had them surgically repaired. Blairâ€™s scar tissue essentially got re-absorbed by his body and the result left Blair with essentially no ACLs.
Although heâ€™s suffered no adverse effects ever since, Blairâ€™s is an unprecedented injury and one that scared off a slew of NBA executives. Though Blair literally has no ACL to tear, some team physicians feel that Blair could eventually develop a nagging issue that could wear him down a few years down the road.
Hereâ€™s Dr. Wedroâ€™s assessment:
The ACLâ€™s job is to be one of the knee stabilizers in the anterior-posterior direction, that is preventing the tibia or shin bone from sliding frontwards or backwards in relation to the femur or thigh bone. This is especially important in quick stops and starts. If there is no ACL, then the quadriceps and hamstring muscles need to take over the stabilization role. Good knee stability should be able to be maintained as long as the quads and hams remain strong and in balance.
There are examples of pro athletes who have played with absent ACLs including Philip Rivers in a playoff game for the Chargers. Marty Barrett played with the Red Sox without an ACL and I presume that there are many athletes who did not know of the injury or chose not to disclose it for fear of cutting their career short.
I appreciate Feldman’s work in this area, but a I can’t help but wonder why nearly thirty medical staffs advised their employers to pass on Blair?
Still, I’d be fine with DeJuan Blair had the Spurs moved to 15 and selected him there, guaranteed salary and all. In fact, I’d still wear the same grin from ear to ear. The Spurs’ window is 33 years old and time has come to go all-in. Moving up would have made Blair a high risk/high reward selection. But getting him at 37? What are you risking? $880,000? That’s a drop in the bucket.Â I’m convinced that no fewer than 6 teams erred by siding with caution on draft night.Â What does Bill Simmons say N.B.A. stands for?