Overview of Timberwolves C Nikola Pekovic’s Ankle Bursitis

Minnesota Timberwolves big-man Nikola Pekovic left in the first quarter on Monday night against the Chicago Bulls with a right ankle injury.  An MRI performed on Tuesday showed bursitis of the ankle and the team announced he will be sidelined for 7-10 days.  This means Pekovic will miss at least the next 4 games and maybe even up to 7.

The Timberwolves are 3 games out of the last playoff spot as we come to the midpoint of the season and losing him is a big blow since he is third on the team in scoring and second in rebounds and field goal percentage.  The team lacks depth at the center position and will look to Ronny Turiaf to start at center.  Besides Kevin Love and Turiaf, the only other player above 6’10” on the roster is Gorgui Dieng, who has appeared in 25 of the 44 games this season and averages 5.4 minutes per game.

ankle
Green areas represent bursae location

No specific bursa was named in Pekovic’s injury but there are three common areas where ankle bursitis can occur, as represented by green in the picture above.  Going from left to right in the picture, there is the subcutaneous calcaneal bursa, the retrocalcaneal bursa, and the subcutaneous bursa of medial malleolus.

The first often becomes inflamed when there is an injury to the Achilles tendon or with tight fitting shoes.  The second bursa can develop inflammation with overuse of the ligaments, tendons, and ligaments around it especially in sports such as soccer and basketball.  The last bursa listed is often injured with trauma or contact sports, causing severe pain with dorsi and plantar flexion of the foot.

Typical treatment consists of rest, ice, and shoe inserts to help cushion and stabilize the ankle.  Corticosteroid injection into the bursa can help decrease inflammation.  Surgery is usually not required.

Fantasy Impact
Ronny Turiaf will start at center while Pekovic is out.  Turiaf finished the game against the Bulls on Monday night with 14 PTS, 7 REB, and 3 BLK on 6-7 shooting in 32 minutes.  He had been averaging 15.6 minutes per game in his last 10 games so more playing time will boost his value in most standard leagues.  Kevin Love might see a spike in points and rebounds as he becomes the lone threat in the low post for the T-wolves.

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Taping Tuesday: Achilles Tendonitis

With Rudy Gay still out of the lineup for the Sacramento Kings with a left Achilles injury, I thought it would be appropriate to cover kinesiotaping strategies for this important tendon.  A study  titled “Calcaneal loading during walking and running” published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2000 showed that the Achilles tendon can have load forces of up to 3.9 times your body weight when walking and 7.7 times body weight when running.  Thus, it is important to help support and stabilize it especially during high impact activities such as running, volleyball, and basketball.

Below is an excellent way to apply kinesiotape on the Achilles tendon, courtesy of KT Tape.

2 More Rare NES Carts on eBay (Gray and GOLD!)

Considering the record amount a gray Nintendo World Championships cart auction ended for last week on eBay, it’s no surprise that other owners of the coveted cartridge would try to capitalize on it.  There are now concurrent eBay auctions for a gray and even rarer gold version (only 26 of the 116 made) of the game.

nes_rare_2
Image from actual listing

First up, is *yawn* the gray version, currently at 27 bids with 5 days to go and a price of $11,000.  This one has the original label still on as opposed to the one from last week.

nes_rare_gold
Image from actual listing

Next is the ultra-rare gold cart, currently at $90,100 with 67 bids and 7 days left.  The issue with the cart that ended with a high bid of almost $100,000 last week is that the top bidder recently backed out stating that “their 2 year old placed the bid without their knowledge”.  So there can be some artificial inflation of bids going on with all these auctions.  It’ll be interesting to see how much these two listings can grow to with almost a week left to go and if any will sell to legitimate bidders.

Update: eBay Listing For NES Game Ends At…

$99,902.

Wow.

328 total bids and the winning price makes it the most expensive video game ever sold, eclipsing the $55,000 spent on a “The Legend of Zelda” prototype in 2012.  It also shatters the previous high of $18,000 for the same Nintendo World Championships cart.  I guess the hand-written “Mario” label makes it all that more valuable.

P90X3: Week 1 Recap

One week down, twelve more to go!  Here are my thoughts on the first week of P90X3.

Day 1: Total Synergistics
30 minutes goes by fast in this total body workout (push-ups, squats, pull-ups, core) with hardly any breaks in between exercises.  Since this was my initial run-through, I form faltered as I was trying to keep up with the video and forgot to write down my progress.  It’ll only get better as I now know what to expect.  Overall, still a great exercise and my whole body was definitely sore the next day.

Day 2: Agility X
Marking the floor with tape is crucial!  I did not have painters tape so I “eyeballed” the distances and while it was still effective, I feel like having actual markers on the floor would hold me more accountable. Since warm-up plus the actual exercise has to fit within 30 minutes there were no hamstring stretches which would have been beneficial since this workout includes a lot of plyometric moves.  I realize that there is an optional 12 minute “cold start” primer I could have done first but that defeats the purpose of 30 minute workouts!  I’ll be adding my own quick hamstring warm-up for next week.

Day 3: X3 Yoga
Yoga X was my least favorite exercise by far in the original P90X.   My flexibility is awful to say the least so 90 minutes of demanding yoga poses was not my cup of tea.  So it may come as a surprise that I thought X3 Yoga was great!  Some might think that Tony should hold the poses for longer, but the pace was spot-on for me.  It did feel a bit more rushed at the end during balance poses but once again, everything has to fit within 30 minutes.  The 4 sets of moves for hamstrings, hips, IT band, and spine were the highlights for me.  Oh and corpse pose is the best pose in yoga.  Lastly, Ted’s version of “Ted’s Chair” (one-legged chair into crane) is insane.

Day 4: The Challenge
This was my favorite workout for the week and all it involved were push-ups and pull-ups.  You choose 2 numbers at the beginning that guide you through the workout.  One is your pull-up reps and the other is you push-up reps.  The goal is to maintain those reps throughout the 30 minutes.  Tough all the way through and you end with two minutes and thirty seconds of “burnout”.  A great whole upper body challenge.

Day 5: CVX
Tony keeps the pace going in this cardio workout with weights.  Having done Insanity, CVX was nowhere near as intense which for my fitness goals is perfect.  I felt like I had gone through a good workout at the end but did not feel completely gassed as was the case post-Insanity routines.

Day 6: The Warrior
Can’t argue with combination sets of upper body, interval, core, and lower body.  Another whole body workout that was fun and challenging to complete.  As a personal note, I really need to improve my hamstring flexibility.  It would make a lot of these workouts easier.

Day 7: Dynamix
The option for day 7 was rest or Dynamix and I chose the latter to see what it was all about.  I’m glad I did as I was treated to range of motion and stretching moves that I sorely needed.  This workout incorporated motion into the routine instead of static stretches and was a nice way to get my body ready for another week of P90X.

Overall Impressions
So far, the 30 minutes a day is fitting comfortably into my schedule.  There were initial adjustment periods to each of the workouts since I had to figure out the moves but I think the upcoming weeks will go much smoother.  I’m enjoying the variety and whole body approach to most of the DVDs, though I wish there were more weight lifting routines and less cardio.  Ambitious as it might be, I plan on following the “Mass” track of the program after this initial 90 days (assuming I make it to the end) to hopefully bulk more.  Bring on week 2!

Overview of Kings F Rudy Gay’s Achilles Tendon Strain

Sacramento Kings F Rudy Gay was diagnosed with a strained left Achilles tendon after undergoing an MRI on Thursday.  Gay sustained the injury in Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets in the first quarter after driving into the lane and scoring on a floater.  He is listed as day-to-day and was spotted in a walking boot today.

The Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone (calcaneus) and is often injured with overuse, especially running and jumping.  Chronic Achilles tendonitis can cause weakening of the tendon and lead to a rupture.  A torn Achilles tendon can heal on its own over time but many doctors recommend surgery.  Even then, rehabilitation of the area can take 4-6 months before returning to regular levels of activity.

achilles_tendon

For Achilles tendonitis or strains, the usual RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol is the standard guideline to follow, along with the use of a walking boot to help stabilize the tendon.  In addition, therapeutic ultrasound and transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) may help the healing process.

Fantasy Impact
After only eclipsing the 30 minute mark once in the last 6 games, Derrick Williams played 40 minutes for the Kings after Gay left the game.  Williams responded with his first double-double of the season (22 PTS, 11 REB).  Should Gay be out longer than expected, Williams  looks to be a good pickup.

Rare NES Cartridge on eBay for a Paltry $5,000

For those unfamiliar with the cartridge listed in this eBay auction, a starting bid of $4,999 probably seems ridiculous especially given the sad state of the label.  But to the fanatical collectors of old-school video games, this is a golden opportunity to own one of the rarest NES games ever made.

"Mario" for 5Gs! (actual picture from listing)
“Mario” for 5Gs! (actual picture from listing)

116 to be exact of these Nintendo World Championships cartridges were manufactured.  90 are of the gray variety like the one in the auction and the other 26 are gold toned, as pictured in the post header.  The Nintendo World Championships was held in 1990 and tasked contestants to play a customized game cartridge that included Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris.  They were then given out to the finalists and have since grown to become the most valuable NES “game” due to the limited quantities.

Recent sales of this cartridge include $15,000 for one in 2008, $17,500 and $18,000 in 2009, and $11,500 in 2011.  With those figures in mind, $5,000 could be considered a steal for some to own a piece of NES history.  The auction currently has no bids and 2 days left.  I’m sure you’d still have to blow into the cartridge for several minutes to get it to play…

*Note: I am in no way affiliated with this eBay auction.

Worst of Consoles + Worst of PCs = Alienware’s Steam Machine

Alienware has released more info on their Steam Machine that will be released in September of this year.  It will not be upgradeable or customizeable and a new version will be released every year.  If this news caused you to swear off all Steam Machines, I would not be surprised.

Alienware’s decision is seemingly a hybrid of the worst aspects of console and pc gaming.  Having a closed system follows what Microsoft and Sony have done with their machines, and in doing so, ensures that all games during the current generation will run well on a single spec.  The problem is that a typical console cycle is at least 4-5 years, with the most recent jump a 7-8 year gap.  Instead, Alienware wants to sell gamers basically a new console annually and at a “competitive price point” to XBox One and PS4.  If that means $400-$500, it is a steep price to expect people to pay at that frequency.

On the other hand, PC gamers are used to regular updates to key components of their machines such as the GPU and CPU.  Part of the fun of the platform is the ability to gradually upgrade certain aspects of the machine at your own financial pace.  The downside to this is that some high end hardware can be quite expensive, especially video cards.  Alienware’s Steam Machine realizes this desire for upgrades but goes about it wrong with forcing you to upgrade the entire system instead of individual aspects.  It is hard to imagine anyone buying a complete new box every year just to keep up with the Joneses.

Even with the trepidation this news brings, I think Alienware can still regain the trust of gamers.  They need to price the system very competitively initially and allow people to trade in older models for the newest one at a modest upgrade fee.  This would make the business model more attractive to  the console and PC audience alike, giving the former up-to-the-minute tech every year, and the latter a cheaper and easier option to regular upgrades.

Taping Tuesday: Ankle Sprain/Stability

According to a 17 year review of injuries in the NBA published in Sports Health, lateral ankle sprains were the most prevalent injuries.  It also caused the second most missed games, behind patellofemoral inflammation.  Typical treatment consists of conservative measures such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for grade 1 sprains.  Grade 2 includes more stabilization of the joint with an added boot or brace.  Regardless of the grade, strengthening and range of motion rehab exercises are often prescribed while surgery is a rare option.

Kinesiotape provides good support for the ankle and can help speed up the recovery process.  There are different techniques for taping an ankle depending on who you ask.  Here are two methods courtesy of Rocktape and Kt Tape.

Had experience with kinesiology tape on your ankles?  Sound off in the comments below!

Overview of Bobcats G Kemba Walker’s Ankle Sprain

Charlotte Bobcats leading scorer Kemba Walker suffered a left ankle sprain on Saturday against the Miami Heat after stepping on Chris Bosh’s foot while driving to the basket.  He had X-rays and an MRI on Sunday, which revealed a grade 2 sprain.  The team stated that Walker miss 10 to 14 days.

Ankle sprains are categorized into 3 grades, depending on the severity of the injury.  Grade 1 is a slight stretching to the ligaments with mild tenderness and edema.  No walking boot is necessary.  Grade 2 occurs when there is partial tearing of the ligaments with instability of the ankle and restricted range of motion.  It is more difficult to walk and put weight on the foot as there is noticeable edema with ecchymosis (bruising).  Grade 3 sprains happen when there is a complete tear of the ligament, but surprisingly most of these do not require surgery.  The body does an amazing job of healing itself.

Typical recovery time for grade sprains is 2-4 weeks, grade 2 is 4-8 weeks, and grade 3 is 8-12 weeks.  It is surprising that the Bobcats have Walker pegged at 10-14 days for his grade 2 sprain.  Granted, everyone heals at a different rate, and as a professional athlete, he has access to the best rehab therapy.  But it still seems like an accelerated and optimistic time frame.

Fantasy Impact
Ramon Sessions is a good stopgap pickup until Walker gets back on the court.  Sessions will be the Bobcats’ starting point guard and he finished Saturday’s game with 16 PTS and 5 AST.  He leads the league in drives per 48 minutes meaning he gets to the line regularly and is a career 80% free throw shooter.