Injury Analysis: How Serious is Giannis' Knee Issue?

Injury Analysis: How Serious is Giannis' Knee Issue?

This article is part of our NBA Injury Analysis series.

RotoWire's Jeff Stotts looks around the league at the injuries impacting fantasy basketball in Week 21.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The MVP frontrunner is currently sidelined by a knee injury suffered over the weekend. The exact diagnosis from the team is a "minor joint capsule sprain." He is slated to miss at least one more game with an extended absence a possibility.

The joint capsule of the knee is a multilayered covering that surrounds the knee joint. It includes the kneecap, menisci, bursa sacs, and the multiple stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The joint capsule is involved in active and passive stabilization of the joint while playing an important role in motion. The capsule is divided into two layers, the outer fibrous layer compromised of connective tissue and the synovial membrane, a layer filled with a viscous fluid known as synovium.

The majority of capsule injuries involve the lateral or outer portion of the knee. This area is particularly complex and includes the iliotibial tract (IT band), lateral meniscus, as well as multiple tendons and ligaments. One of these tendons belongs to the popliteus, a muscle active in unlocking the knee and rotating the lower leg. Unfortunately, by allowing the popliteus tendon to runs through this area, the lateral capsule sacrifices a bit of its integrity and can be susceptible to injury. Multiple NBA players, including Rudy Gay, Jerryd Bayless, and Shaquille O'Neal, have suffered injuries to this area. 

Isolated capsule injuries are relatively uncommon. Most noted cases in the

RotoWire's Jeff Stotts looks around the league at the injuries impacting fantasy basketball in Week 21.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The MVP frontrunner is currently sidelined by a knee injury suffered over the weekend. The exact diagnosis from the team is a "minor joint capsule sprain." He is slated to miss at least one more game with an extended absence a possibility.

The joint capsule of the knee is a multilayered covering that surrounds the knee joint. It includes the kneecap, menisci, bursa sacs, and the multiple stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The joint capsule is involved in active and passive stabilization of the joint while playing an important role in motion. The capsule is divided into two layers, the outer fibrous layer compromised of connective tissue and the synovial membrane, a layer filled with a viscous fluid known as synovium.

The majority of capsule injuries involve the lateral or outer portion of the knee. This area is particularly complex and includes the iliotibial tract (IT band), lateral meniscus, as well as multiple tendons and ligaments. One of these tendons belongs to the popliteus, a muscle active in unlocking the knee and rotating the lower leg. Unfortunately, by allowing the popliteus tendon to runs through this area, the lateral capsule sacrifices a bit of its integrity and can be susceptible to injury. Multiple NBA players, including Rudy Gay, Jerryd Bayless, and Shaquille O'Neal, have suffered injuries to this area. 

Isolated capsule injuries are relatively uncommon. Most noted cases in the NBA have involved additional injuries like lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprains or bone-related issues. These cases generally require significant time off. However, Gay missed just one game after he suffered an isolated joint capsule sprain. This could be an encouraging precedent for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks as the team described the injury as "minor" and did not mention any other involved structures. 

However, fantasy owners will want to play it safe and anticipate Antetokounmpo sitting out for the entire week. With a firm grasp on the top seed in the Eastern Conference, it's likely that the Bucks handle Giannis' recovery conservatively. Ersan Ilyasova replaced Antetokounmpo in the starting lineup but failed to score in 15 minutes of action. Donte DiVincenzo may be the most likely player to benefit from Antetokounmpo's absence, as he will likely see his responsibilities on the offensive end expand. DiVincenzo played 29 minutes on Sunday, scoring 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting while collecting seven rebounds and two steals.

Malcolm Brogdon

Brogdon limped off the court in last week's loss to the Bucks with what was initially described as a sore left hip. Unfortunately, testing revealed a much more significant injury and the Pacers guard is out indefinitely.

Brogdon was diagnosed with a torn rectus femoris muscle. The muscle itself may sound unfamiliar but it is part of the quadriceps, a muscle group more recognizable to fantasy owners.

The "quad" is made up of four muscles, the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. These muscles work in unison to straighten or extend the leg with the rectus femoris also playing a role in bending the hip.  The quad is a necessary component of walking and running and any injury to the area can be very limiting.

If a torn rectus femoris wasn't bad enough, Brogdon has a history of left quadriceps injuries, including a partially torn quadriceps tendon that sidelined him for over 60 days and caused him to miss 30 games during the 2017-2018 season. The fact that he is considered week-to-week suggest it will not be a quick recovery, making him expendable in most fantasy formats.

Fast Breaks

Jimmy ButlerThe Heat forward made an early exit on Sunday with a left toe injury. The specifics are a bit vague, but it is worth noting Butler suffered a nagging case of turf toe during the 2013-14 season that forced him out of 11 games. It's best to consider him day-to-day for now and hope the injury is not as significant as his previous one. With Jae Crowder in the league's mandated concussion protocol and Tyler Herro still nursing a sore foot, Miami's depth could be tested in the week ahead. Kendrick Nunn and Derrick Jones Jr. will see an increase in usage.

Stephen CurryCurry's return from a broken hand was brief, as the guard was sent back to the sidelines after just one appearance. Curry came down with the flu shortly after his 23-point performance against the Raptors. He did not dress against the Sixers on Saturday and was unable to practice Sunday. He is considered questionable for Tuesday's matchup with the Clippers.

Seth Curry: Recently, Steph's younger brother has been on a tear worthy of the family name. Since the All-Star break, Seth has averaged 19.2 points per game on 59.2 percent shooting, including 53.7 from behind the arc. Over that same stretch he is averaging 3.6 made three-pointers, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. However, Curry suffered a sprained ankle on March 6 in a win over the Grizzlies and did not play Sunday against the Pacers. Curry will not play in Tuesday's game, which comes on the first night of a back-to-back.

Kelly OubreThe Suns swingman will miss at least the next four weeks after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus. The timeline suggests he underwent a meniscectomy (removal) rather than a true meniscus repair. Still, Phoenix did not say he will return in four weeks, just that he will be re-evaluated. As a result, he is likely drop-able, paving the way for extra run for Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.

Derrick Rose: The former MVP is out with a Grade II sprain of his right ankle. The Grade II designation means the injury is classified as a partial tear. Like Oubre, Rose will be re-evaluated in a few weeks and return this season is not guaranteed. With Reggie Jackson no longer in the way, Bruce Brown becomes the member of the Pistons backcourt with the most fantasy upside. Despite a four-game injury-related absence of his own, Brown has averaged 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists since February 2.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Stotts
Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
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