Kawhi Leonard’s Partial ACL Tear: Why the Wait to Perform Surgery?Kawhi Leonard’s Partial ACL Tear: Why the Wait to Perform Surgery? https://phoenixspineandjoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/https___clipperholics.com_wp-content_uploads_getty-images_2020_05_1210700820-1024x682.jpeg 1024 682 Phoenix Spine & Joint Phoenix Spine & Joint https://phoenixspineandjoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/https___clipperholics.com_wp-content_uploads_getty-images_2020_05_1210700820-1024x682.jpeg
Kawhi Leonard (CQ) had surgery to reconstruct his right partially torn ACL on July 13. The initial injury occurred during the Western Conference semifinal series on June 14. So, Kawhi is an elite athlete with immediate access to the best surgeons in the world. Why delay the surgery nearly a month?
The most crucial factor in deciding on the timing for ACL reconstruction surgery depends on the injury itself. Not so much the time from injury. ACL injury severity varies, from a sprain to partial or a complete rupture.
A strain or partial tear in the ACL usually regains stability without surgery. For Leonard’s partial tear, he performed supervised rehab (strengthening, balance training, etc.) to see if his body could compensate for the instability.
That is one reason the Los Angeles Clippers may have held off on surgery.
Secondly, after an ACL injury, the knee may develop increased swelling affecting its motion. Research has shown that a ten degree or more significant deficit of knee range of motion is more likely to cause joint stiffness. Holding off on surgery provides time to regain the knee motion, decrease swelling and build strength, limiting any complications after surgery.
ACL reconstruction surgery will help Leonard return to his prior level of play. His restored ACL is expected to withstand even the dynamic tasks of an elite NBA athlete, such as cutting, changing directions, and jumping. Restoring full ACL strength will also decrease his chances of developing further knee degeneration after his NBA career ends.
Conversely, in a different injury— without much swelling and near-normal knee motion despite instability— surgery could be done safely within the first week. Similarly, an extensive knee injury, such as one in which a loose piece of cartilage (loose body) is floating in the knee, meniscus tear, or another ligament injury, may also require immediate attention.
Patients who have surgery immediately after their ACL injury often feel they will be back quicker, but that is not always the case. A lot depends on a person’s mental state.
Whether you end up having early or delayed surgery, being psychologically ready and having a good understanding of expectations is critical for optimal recovery.
If the MRI shows a complete tear or a partial tear that doesn’t heal independently, then ACL reconstruction is necessary. Look here to find out more about the surgery and rehab expectations — so you don’t just return. You come back even stronger.
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- ACL Tear
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