Golden State Warriors Andre Iguodola Injury Discussion: NBA Finals Edition

With Game 1 of the NBA Finals less than 24 hours away it’s time to talk about two of the biggest injuries heading into Cleveland-Golden State IV. He initially injured his left knee/left lower leg in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

While there was some optimism he would play in the Western Conference finals against Houston, he has not played since and his injury has sparked debate what’s the cause of his injury and ultimately does it affect the outcome of the upcoming series. Golden State has provided an update for him yesterday and officially ruled him out of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

While the former finals MVP isn’t available for Game 1, it doesn’t sound as though he’s entirely loss for the series.


Anatomy Review:

With his lower leg injury it’s being classified as a bone bruise (contusion) with associated nerve inflammation.

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There are many nerves that innervate the area around the knee. Whether it’s a motor nerve or a sensory nerve there is a fair amount of innervation around the knee. If you look at the video closely, it appears that the lateral part of his left knee smacked Harden’s knee. If the location is accurate then the nerve in question is most likely the Common Fibular Nerve. 

Rehabilitation Review:

Most likely in the first few days following his injury, the goal of care is to get the inflammation down around the knee and to rule out any major structural issue, usually done with an X-ray (to rule out bone) and an MRI (to rule out soft tissue).

He is getting electrical motor stimulation (EMS) and a lot of manual work done to his knee. It’s not a matter of making sure he has his range of motion in his knee or doing entry-level knee rehabilitation. It’s can he play basketball. The issue isn’t shooting (as seen below), it is about his ability to run and slide defensively. Can his knee stand up to the rigors of the stresses of cutting and needing to slide and react? We don’t know. But that’s what you’re making sure he can do.

Rehabilitation of athletes cannot be treated with your standard quad sets and short arc quads or your isometric knee flexion exercises. But you’re loading his knee in the single-leg stance, his ability to shift weight from leg to leg, and be able to jump and land without pain.

So where do I come into play? I’m doing a lot of the manual work on his knee. Hoping to eliminate the “nerve entrapment” if there is one. We’re working the soft tissue such as: quadriceps, hamstrings, popliteus, and the knee capsule. The goal of treatment is to get pain down, decrease swelling, and get him back on the court as soon as possible.

My Take:

I believe he is going to play in this series, if required. I think it’s most likely he returns for Game 2 or Game 3 when they travel to Cleveland.

He recently mentioned to Bleacher Report “he’s not too far away.” He has acknowledged the recovery process has been slower than anticipated, he does believe he will return soon…

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