Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart had suffered a torn oblique in Sunday's contest against the Orlando Magic, which could cause him to miss the first two rounds of the NBA Playoffs.
The team weighs in on the news of Marcus Smart missing 4-6 weeks with an injury. pic.twitter.com/P5v1QzP3R1- Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 11, 2019
MORE: Marcus Smart 'could be sidelined for the first two rounds of the playoffs'
Our medical expert, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Michael S. George of the KSF Orthopaedic Center in Houston, Texas, weighed in with some expert analysis of Smart's injury and what to watch for moving forward.
On the oblique and what it's used for:
There are two oblique muscles - the internal oblique and the external oblique. These are the muscles on the side of the abdomen. The internal oblique runs deep into the external oblique and their fibers run parallel to one another. The oblique muscles run from the lower ribs to the front portion of the iliac crest, which is the upper part of the pelvis. The oblique muscles aid in side bending and trunk rotation.
On what a torn oblique really is:
According to reports, Smart has a partial avulsion of the oblique muscles which means the muscles have partially torn off the pelvic bone.This injury presents an especially difficult situation for basketball players who are constantly twisting and using their oblique muscles for agility.
On how a torn oblique is typically healed:
This injury is almost always treated non-surgically with rest, anti-inflammatory medications and stretching.
This injury would be expected to completely heal without surgery, similar to other muscle injuries such as hamstring injuries. The recovery is somewhat variable depending on the severity of the injury and each individual case and sometimes can linger.
On the time-table of Smart's return:
Similar to a severe hamstring injury, a 4-6 week timeframe can be expected.
Particularly with Smart's aggressive style of play, he will have to regain his rotational flexibility and strength and be pain-free before he returns to the Celtics, which will likely be a 'wait-and-see' scenario.