Guard/forward Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers continues to be sidelined with knee pain after sustaining a non-displaced left patella fracture a month ago. The injury occurred late in the second quarter on February 5th against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Young was wrapped up by C.J. Miles on a fast-break, causing the former to improperly plant his left leg. He has been in and out of the lineup for the past month.
The patella, or kneecap, provides strength and stability when the leg straightens because the quadriceps muscle attaches to it. Common methods of fracturing the patella include direct trauma from a fall or when there is an eccentric contraction force exerted on the area. This can happen with forceful quadriceps contraction while the leg is straight, causing the patella to be pulled apart.
Patella fractures can be classified into four types:
- Stable (non-displaced): The patella is fractured in a way that everything is still in place anatomically.
- Displaced: The patella fractures in such a way that the pieces no longer line up, and thus requires surgery.
- Comminuted: The patella breaks into three or more pieces and is very unstable.
- Open: The skin over the patella has broken, revealing the bone underneath. Often, damage is also seen in the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
The Lakers have a couple of intriguing prospects putting up solid lines with Young out. Among them are Wesley Johnson and Kent Bazemore. The former has been averaging 14 PPG and hitting almost 2 threes a game since Young went out. Bazemore has been a huge surprise so far for the Lakers after being buried on the bench in Golden State where he was known more for his celebrations than his on-court contributions. Since being dealt at the trade deadline, he’s scored in double digits in all five games, averaging 16 PPG and a career high 33 MPG. I leave you with a compilation of Mr. Bazemore’s body of work in Golden State.