Hassan Whiteside: MCL Sprain Injury Report
Yesterday, we examined Jonas Valanciunas’ sprained ankle and we broke down the injury as we examined the area, severity, treatment and prognosis of the injury. The Miami Heat/Toronto Raptors series is tied but that’s about to change because Game 5 takes place tonight in Toronto. The Miami Heat starting center, Hassan Whiteside, injured his knee in Game 3 and has not played since. Team officials listed Hassan Whiteside as “day-to-day” meaning that he could return at any given time however he still has not been cleared to play. Whiteside did not travel with the team to Toronto and is receiving treatment in Miami. Today, we examine MCL sprains and what it means for Hassan Whiteside and the Miami Heat.
What we know is that Whiteside suffered a sprained MCL during Game 3 of the series against the Toronto Raptors. MCL which stands for medial collateral ligament, is a large ligament inside the knee which connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. At the time of the injury, Whiteside was in noticeable discomfort and did not return to the game. He underwent a MRI which confirmed the diagnosis and he probably took x-rays as a precautionary measure to confirm nothing had been broken. Today, we understand that Whiteside’s MCL sprain was categorized as a “grade 1” sprain and he is listed as day to day.
While it’s unfortunate to see any athlete suffer an injury, Whiteside’s MCL sprain is categorized as mild which is a good sign. The tears in the ligaments are assumed to be miniscule and the swelling is probably at a minimum. Luckily, even though he’s 7 feet tall and 265lbs, nothing was completely torn and the rehabilitation process will not be as grueling as a complete tear. The fact that it’s a first degree sprain also indicates that surgery will not be needed and this is not a long term injury to Whiteside, who has been outstanding for the Miami Heat.
Much like Jonas Valanciunas’ injury, initially the only way to treat a MCL sprain is to rest, elevate the knee and ice the area to reduce inflammation. After doing a bit of research, it appears as though the Miami Heat are concerned with the mobility surrounding Whiteside’s knee. As of right now, he’s probably in a lot of pain and has been seen in a walking boot and custom knee brace. These products are used to redistribute weight to unaffected areas of the leg, taking all pressure off of the medial collateral ligament. When mobility returns, Whiteside will perform strengthening exercises to restore the knee back to function and participate in basketball activities. Depending on how he feels, the team doctors will reassess his knee and determine if he could return for the NBA playoffs.
Miami Heat fans are eager for Whiteside to return and probably believe that because he’s listed as “day-to-day,” it means he will return for the remainder of the series. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Hassan Whiteside is a large human being and we understand that mobility has been an issue. The Miami Heat staff will continue to evaluate Whiteside on a daily basis but that does not mean that he’s guaranteed to return for Game 6 or Game 7 of the series against the Raptors. It’s impossible to put a timeframe on his injury, however with the evidence presented, it’s unlikely that Whiteside will return for the Raptors series. The mobility issues and rehabilitation time leads us to believe that if Whiteside were to return, it would be for the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, assuming the Heat beat the Raptors. It’s plausible that Whiteside returns against the Raptors, however, that remains doubtful at the moment. For now, Whiteside needs to continue to rest and wait for the mobility issues to clear before he resumes basketball-related activities, which may begin in a few days or a few weeks.
If you have suffered a MCL sprain or need treatment to rehabilitate an injury, please visit a HealthMax Physiotherapy Clinic or call (416) 431-4000. We have custom knee braces and walking boots designed to take weight off affected areas and restore function, assuring you of full rehabilitation.