It’s official. Kevin Love’s shoulder injury will take him out of the play-offs altogether. CAVs General Manager David Griffin announced this devastating news yesterday.
Love suffered a dislocated shoulder with a corresponding labral tear and bone bruise. It’s a traumatic injury that happened during this past weekend’s heated play-off game against the Boston Celtics.
Today, I spoke with 1590 WAKR morning show host Ray Horner about the specifics of Love’s injury.
Below is an audio file and transcript of our discussion.
And, now that the prognosis is in, the X-rays have been taken, unfortunately Joe, it’s kinda what you said on Monday, my friend.
DR. CONGENI: Yeah, we’ve been through so many of these. It’s such a common sports injury, Ray. I mean, I would challenge all these, uh, smart, young people in the sciences out there to come up with a way to prevent these injuries because in sports, in the world we live in, this injury is very, very common.
And now, it’s played out. Now it’s page 2 of the Kevin Love situation. We know what it is he has.
First of all, 3 points I want to make this morning.
No. 1, let’s be clear. I’ve heard a lot of the people even the media people and everything say he’s separated his shoulder again. You and I, we’ve talked about it a lot. A separation’s very different.
A separation is more pain-related. Can you play through pain? Can you inject it to play? … This is not a separated shoulder. This isn’t a pain issue. It’s a dislocated shoulder, and it’s a weakness and a function issue.
He couldn’t play because he couldn’t grab a basketball right now because he doesn’t have strength to play in game 1. But, it looks like he’s probably not gonna play throughout the play-offs.
We talked about secondly, there are 3 tissues that get damaged with a dislocated shoulder. No. 1, [it’s] almost always a ligament injury, and the word we use for ligament is the capsule.
For the shoulder to pop out you almost always tear the ligament capsule and without that, it takes time to try and heal and things like that. He definitely has a torn ligament. We knew that.
DR. CONGENI: No. 2 is the cartilage rim around the ball and socket, the ball and golf tee. That’s called the labrum. Everybody’s throwing that term around. That’s just the cartilage rim.
Most of the surgeons, who sometimes have to operate on these, say as much as 75 to 80 percent of bad dislocations like his are gonna have some damage to the cartilage. And in fact, we’ve heard, Ray, that he has cartilage damage or a labral tear.
No. 3 is bone. Some people when that ball pops off the golf tee break off a chunk of the bone. In those situations with a significant fracture, they go right straight to surgery. No doubt about it. In his case, they said he had a bone bruise, but no fracture.
So now where are we? The big issue is possible surgery. If this is a high-school kid in my office — which I will see today, this week; we all see in sports medicine — we don’t always go right straight to surgery.
A lot of times we give it time for the ligament to heal, 6 weeks or so. We rehabilitate it. We try to get them to get back, but when they’re in a contact or collision sport, there’s a high incidence of it happening again.
And then, if it happens more than twice and you really wanna play, then we do the big-time reconstructive surgery to fix it.
When we get into the professional level, such high stakes, many times they don’t wait for a second time. If it’s bad cartilage damage and ligament damage like there is with Kevin Love, they do do surgery.
However, in this case, might they wait a month to do the surgery to see is he [able to play]? … I mean, the way the NBA play-offs go on so long, a week before they start, 3, 4, 5, 6 more weeks maybe before the finals.
Is there a chance that he could play some role in the finals? I think that’s what, uh, David Griffin was saying yesterday. But that’s much of where we are with page 2 of Kevin Love.
HORNER: My only other question pertaining to this situation, Joe, for ya, and then I’ll let you go, is this type of injury — as bad as it was — is this something that’s wear and tear that had been coming for awhile or is this the direct result of that tie-up with that Boston Celtics player?
DR. CONGENI: That’s a really, really good question and thanks for clearing that up. You know that most of what I talk about, a lot of what I talk about and see down here is the overuse, overload variety. The wear and tear of playing too much and everything like that. This is not one of those usually. This is just purely a traumatic injury.
And again, what I told you on Monday, did he have any prior dislocations? And the answer was no he didn’t. So, this was a first-time traumatic injury like an ankle sprain, an ACL tear.
In fact, Ray, in our office, shoulder dislocations are pretty much just as common, if not more common than ACL tears, and many of them when they happen again and again the ligaments are so badly torn, this is one that we do have to do surgery on quite a bit.
HORNER: Alright, Joe. Great stuff. Thank you for the questions and giving us the answers, too. We appreciate the time.
DR. CONGENI: Thanks.
Originally aired on 1590 WAKR-AM on April 29, 2015