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Brooklyn Nets

Ask a medical expert: When could Caris LeVert return for the Brooklyn Nets?

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Caris LeVert (NBA Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert suffered a leg injury against the Minnesota Timberwolves that required him to be taken out of the game on a stretcher.

LeVert has since been diagnosed with a "subtalar dislocation of the right foot" and won't require surgery. Many were surprised by the diagnosis, as his injury appeared to be far more serious that it turned out to be.

So how could LeVert be expected to return this season from such a gruesome injury? According to NBA.com's medical expert Dr. Michael George, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at KSF Orthopaedic Center in Houston, TX, the key is that he didn't suffer any fractures.

The ankle joint itself is a joint between the central bone and the ankle called the talus, and the tibula and fibula above it. A subtalar dislocation is a dislocation of that central bone called the talus from the bones of the foot below it. This is a very rare injury that only occurs with a high energy mechanism, although it's most common in basketball players, to the point where some refer to subtalar dislocations as basketball foot.

Once the bones have been set back in place, then the foot is usually stable. Fortunately in this case, according to reports there were no fractures in the foot, which means it would not be expected to need surgery - although there is still injury to the ligaments around the bones that need to heal.

The treatment for a subtalar dislocation usually involves immobilization in a cast or boot for 4-6 weeks, George explained, followed by a "gradual return to activity."

It's a less severe injury than the one Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward suffered last season, but "it will still involve a prolonged recovery - likely several months - until [LeVert is] able to play a high level again."

LeVert is, however, expected to make a full recovery.

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