Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers sustained a broken leg against the Nets on Monday and underwent season-ending surgery on Tuesday.
.@bosnianbeast27 underwent successful surgery today & is expected to make a full recovery. Želimo ti brz oporavak! https://t.co/A0qeXYOio1- Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 26, 2019
Our medical expert, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Michael S. George of the KSF Orthopaedic Center in Houston, Texas, weighed in with some expert analysis of Nurkic's injury and what to watch for moving forward.
On the lower leg injury itself:
"Nurkic's involved a fracture of the main bone in the lower leg called the tibia as well as the thinner bone called the tibula. His fracture was open which also is known as a compound fracture which means the broken bone punctured the skin. Open fractures are more severe than closed ones because it complicates the management of the damaged skin and underlying soft tissue and there's also increased risk of infection and other complications."
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How do these injuries typically occur?
"These types of fractures happen in two different ways:
"One way is a severe, acute trauma such as in a car accident.
"The other is for the bone to develop a stress fracture gradually which is where the bone takes too much stress over a period of weeks to months and develops small cracks that eventually form into larger fractures and can finally fracture all the way through.
"It would be impossible at this point to determine which type Nurkic had unless he had been complaining of pain and had an x-ray or MRI prior to the injury."
What happens between now and rehabilitation?
"Injury requires surgery to stabilize the fracture with a metal rod called an intramedullary nail and also needs surgical would cleaning, antibiotics and eventually surgical closure of the skin and soft tissues. The fracture itself usually takes 8-12 weeks to heal if there are no complications."
Are there other examples of this injury?
"This is the same injury that Paul George had and he did return to the court after 8 months and has performed extremely well but you can't expect everyone to recover so well
"Even though fractures such as this should be expected to heal, severe injuries like this are difficult to recover from and complications can occur such as infection and wound issues.
"In the National Football League, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith also had a similar injury, but he has reportedly had complications related to his soft tissue healing that has made his recovery much more difficult.
"Hopefully Nurkic will be able to heal well and avoid complications and make a full return."
What other major factors are worth considering for an injury such as this?
"The good news is that a fracture of a long bone such as this is not involve a join which means that he will not the same issues with regaining joint stability and motion as there are with severe issues to the joins such as the knee, ankle and foot."