It’s third quarter with 1:20 left to play at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, home of the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Detroit Pistons turnover the ball as Point Guard Brandon Knight steals the ball and assists with a jumper making the score 91-65 Bucks. Simultaneously, #7 Brandon Jennings, a leading scorer and Point Guard for the Pistons, collapses with a very evident injury in his left ankle. Jennings averaged 20 points and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 44% from the field and 40.4% from three-point range in the Pistons’ run back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
A visibly, upset and hurt Jennings wheeled off the court Saturday night unsure of the permanent status of his condition. What seemed to be a left ankle sprain injury, it was later confirmed by the Pistons that Jennings has a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will be out for the remaining of the season.
Jennings, arguably the best player on the Pistons, took it to twitter on 1/25 that he will be out for 6-9 months. With the timetable Jennings provided us through social media, it seems by late June- late September he will be ready by the time NBA training camp begins.
What is a ruptured Achilles tendon?
A tendon is a band of tissues that connect a muscle to the bone. The Achilles tendon runs down the back of the lower leg and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Also known as a “heel cord”, the Achilles tendon facilitates by helping raise the heel off the ground.
A rupture is a partial or complete tear of the tendon. Forceful jumping, sudden accelerations of running, or overstretching can all root to the tendon to be stretched beyond its capacity causing the tear.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Sudden pain in back of ankle or calf
- Popping or snapping sensation
- Swelling on the back of the leg between the heel and calf
- Difficulty walking and rising up on toes
During the exam, you’ll probably be asked to describe your symptoms, your overall health, and your usual activities. The doctor will check your foot and ankle for areas of redness, swelling, and warmth. The range of motion in your foot and ankle may also be tested. Controlling pain and swelling will help reduce symptoms. Start with RICE. If you need more help, your doctor may prescribe medications or injections. Once symptoms have gone, exercises can help restore movement and strength.
Rest allows the tissues in your foot to heal. Stay off your feet for a few days. In some cases, your doctor may give you a brace to keep your foot still. When your foot feels better, slowly work back into activity. Limit high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, until your doctor says you can go back to them.
Ice helps prevent swelling and reduce pain. Place ice on the painful area for 20 minutes every hour or so. Do this for a few days until symptoms lessen.
Compression of an injured ankle, knee, or wrist may help reduce the swelling. These include bandages such as elastic wraps, special boots, air casts and splints. Ask your doctor which is best
Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart. Use a pillow to help elevate an injured limb.
X-rays may be taken to rule out a broken bone. To identify damage to a tendon, your doctor may order an MRI (magnetic resonance image) or diagnostic ultrasound.
There are a variety of ways to repair an Achilles tendon rupture. The most common method is an open repair. This starts with an incision made on the back of the lower leg starting just above the heel bone. After the surgeon finds the two ends of the ruptured tendon, these ends are sewn together with sutures. The incision is then closed.
Another repair method makes a small incision on the back of the lower leg at the site of the rupture. A series of needles with sutures attached is passed through the skin and Achilles tendon and then brought out through the small incision. The sutures are then tied together. The best surgical technique for your Achilles rupture will be determined by your orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon.
Jennings confirmed that the surgery was successful Tuesday early morning and will now be in recovery mode.
To keep up to date with the latest foot and ankle related injuries, check out our website: www.carmelfoot.com. For any further questions or concerns, contact us!