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What to expect from the Clint Capela thumb injury-Dr. Patel

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The Houston Rocket’s center Clint Capela is expected to miss 4- 6 weeks with a reported thumb ligament injury. He is not expected to need surgery but may seek a second opinion.

Capela likely injured one of the collateral ligaments at the thumb. There is one on the inside of the thumb and one on the outside. Both of these are important for gripping activities and are commonly injured in basketball players. The MRI most likely revealed a partial ligament injury if he is not undergoing immediate surgery. These are usually protected with a cast or splint for about 4 weeks and then gradual return to activity by 6 weeks.

If Capela decides to have surgery, then this would involve fixation of the ligament with suture embedded into the bone to re-attach the ligament. For NBA players, this is usually 8 weeks to return to full play.

Regardless, he is not expected to return until after the All- Star break. This is a major hit for the Rockets who have little depth at center. Nene is expected to start, and PJ Tucker will rotate into center for their small lineup.

Amar A. Patel, MD is an orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in hand, elbow, and shoulder surgery. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University and obtained his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University. He completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Miami/ Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he learned advances techniques in traumatic and sports- related injuries. He completed advanced training in hand and upper extremity surgery at the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center. Dr. Patel currently practices at the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside in Chicago, Illinois. He is an avid sports fan and has been a fantasy sports participant for over 15 years.

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