Injury Breakdown: J.R. Smith

So being consumed with school, I haven't been able to contribute as much as I would've liked to my favorite sport's blog. I was trying to think of a way where I could actually be of some use, and brush up on certain things that would be helpful in my studies. (A dual purpose)

When I heard the news that Earl had resigned and then all of sudden went into surgery, I was kind of shocked, because free agent athletes with predisposing conditions may not field offers as well as they would at a 100% fitness level. However, when the contract was presented as only 3 years, it was obvious that the his underlying condition was a factor.

So with all that melodrama aside, I wanted to get into the actual injuries, causes, procedures, and recovery that would have to do with J.R.'s left knee.

Injury: A Damaged Patellar Tendon on the left knee.

Patellar Tendon: Is the tendon that works synergistically with the anterior muscle of the thigh known as the Quadricep Femoris, primarily used for extension (straightening of the leg). The tendon attaches to the patella and the tibia (both located on the bottom aspect of the knee) to Quadricep Femoris tendon.

Types of Injury of the Patellar Tendon:

Partial Tear: When some fibrous components of the tendon are torn, but ultimately the main structure is still in tact. It's just weakened to a certain degree. This is mainly due to over exertion. (May or may not require surgery)

Complete Tear: It sounds as bad as it is, involving the complete destruction of the tendon and even sometimes breaking parts of the attached bones, leading to the inability to extend the leg and straighten the knee.(You're getting surgery if you want to walk)

Injury: Lateral Meniscus Tear on the left knee

Meniscus: Wedge-shape pieces of cartilage in between the Tibia and Femur at the knee primary function is to serve as shock absorbers during any motor function. Are in pairs one in the medial aspect of the knee and one in the lateral aspect.

Types of Injury: There are a variety of tears that can occur in the Meniscus, and usually are preceded by a "popping sound." The tear can be caused by impact, squatting, and twisting injuries at the knee, which are prevalent in the profession as well. Interestingly enough, most athletes are able to walk and play on this type of injury as well. You can treat the injury with the Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation(RICE) method. Surgery isn't typically required unless it's chronic or there are concurrent injuries present.

The Damage and Causes:

Reading up on J.R.'s injury it was noted as chronic(occurring over a long period of time), and had he suffered a Complete Tear, he would've been most likely out of commission the very instant he was injured. A Partial Tear would be much more likely, as the injury primarily occurs from either Jumping or Falling (which last I checked, occurs in basketball from time to time) and J.R. being J.R. he definitely likes to Jump and fall. Amongst the frolicking during practice, games, clubs, and trampolines, the meniscus could have been damaged in that time secondary to the Patellar Damage.


Like many other procedures sutures are used to correct the damaged tendon(s) by holding it in place at the proper tension so it heals, a complication is if the injury is being repaired after a long period of time, the damaged tendon may have shrunk in size, making it difficult to repair without additional procedures. (Thankfully that did not happen). The Meniscus repair, typically uses an arthroscopic procedure which is relatively simple, using small incisions and tools to repair or trim the damage .


Now the fun part, a majority of how soon and effectively JR comes back into the game, is dependent on his work ethic and discipline, regarding his therapy.

Getting his sutures removed in about 2 weeks, in 2-4 weeks he should be able to put 50% of his weight, and 4-6 weeks he should be able to support full body weight. After that around 8th week of therapy is when you get to incorporate some strength training, slowly rebuilding until the Knick's medical staff can see around 85% recovery of the knee comparing to the healthy knee. Typically around the 12th week that's when they would start him in some practices to find his bearings and balance. Again this would depend on how comfortable J.R. Smith and the Knicks medical staff is on his progress. Recovery times are very fickle things, too fast and he could risk a repeat injury.

J.R's injury isn't terrible, and he should come back with the same explosiveness and athleticism. There should be however, a little sense of caution, because the erratic nature of these types of injuries. All we can do is wish him a speedy recovery and good health. Hopefully he's back in warm-ups in no time, and continues to fuel the love-hate relationship many of us have made with him.

Ok so that was much lengthier and tedious then I thought it would be. I'm pretty sure my editing/grammar skills need work. I thank you if you read or skimmed through any of my banter. If you have any corrections/errors to point out, please don't hesitate!

Sources if anyone is further interested

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