Is this NBA Season Over for Both Lebron and Ball?

Lebron James suffered a right foot injury in the second half of the Lakers’ comeback win over the Mavericks on Feb. 26. James drove on Mavericks center Dwight Powell and missed a layup. He then fell to the ground while holding his foot and was heard saying, “I heard a pop.” As of right now James is to be out for the next two weeks and will be reassessed at that time.

Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball, suffered a fracture in his right ankle during Monday night’s win over the Detroit Pistons. Ball appeared to turn the ankle early in the third quarter while dribbling the ball behind his back. He immediately went down in pain and was subbed out of the game, finishing with 18 points on 6 3-pointers to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Hornets coach Steve Clifford didn’t say how long Ball would be out.

Lower extremity injuries are very common in high-impact sports such as basketball. Nearly half of all basketball-related injuries involve the ankle and foot. From “rolling” an ankle, to landing awkwardly, to getting stepped on, playing basketball leaves athletes open to injury.

Ankle sprains/fractures

A standard treatment for ankle injuries, specifically ankle sprains, often centers around a method remembered by the acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Typically, with the right rehab plan, an athlete can be back in their sport in two-to-six weeks. Ankle fractures will likely require 6-8 weeks of casting or surgical intervention followed by casting if the ankle is displaced.

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures can occur from a rapid increase in activity level or training or from overtraining. Stress fractures in basketball most commonly occur in the foot and lower leg. Once diagnosed, a period of immobilization and non-weight bearing is recommended. Return to play is permitted once the fracture has completely healed and the athlete is pain free.

Achilles Tendon Tears

Achilles tendon tears occur when the Achilles tendon (which connects the calf to the heel) tears. For athletes, surgery is recommended in most cases, but occasionally nonoperative treatment is used. Patients are usually non weight bearing in cast or boot for an extended period of time.

Injury Prevention

  • Have a pre-season physical examination and follow your doctor’s recommendations for basketball injury prevention
  • Hydrate adequately
  • Pay attention to environmental recommendations, especially in relation to excessively hot and humid weather, to help avoid heat illness
  • After a period of inactivity, progress gradually back to full-contact basketball through activities such as aerobic conditioning, strength and agility training
  • Avoid overuse injuries – more is not always better! Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid “burn-out”
  • The athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a healthcare professional
Clifton Ringwood