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Iman Shumpert's Knee Sprain

Knicks fans breathed a sigh of relief last week when Iman Shumpert's knee injury turned out to be an MCL sprain. The dreaded ACL tear was avoided which would have been devastating to his trade value (his primary value to Knick fans). In addition, an ACL tear probably would have had lasting effects on his basketball abilities since he tore his ACL less than two years ago and has only returned from the ACL tear and rehabilitation at the end of last season. By itself, an MCL sprain is not a major concern, however, it is more concerning in a knee that rehabbed an ACL tear. Regaining strength after an ACL repair through vigorous physical therapy and rehabilitation is the easy part. Basketball players rely on quickness and "first steps" on almost every possession and that ability is what separates these great athletes. The knee requires the ability to react to every change in direction, surface, and force in fractions of a second. If a knee is slow to react, at best, you lose your quickness. At worst you lose the knee's ability to react and stabilize itself whether it's stabilizing when landing off balance on one leg, reacting to an "ankle breaking" move, or making a quick move yourself. Iman's MCL sprain is worrisome because it was an incident in which his knee could not respond quickly enough. Perhaps it would have happened to anyone the way he injured his knee. With a recent ACL repair, however, even a moderate MCL sprain creates concern for the stability of his knee.

Avi K, PT