Cavs fans are watching media reports closely as news comes out about Golden State Warriors All-Star Steph Curry’s ankle problems.
What many don’t realize is it began shortly after he joined the NBA in 2010. He had his first reconstructive surgery in 2011 and only played 26 games that season. After his second surgery in 2012, he took matters into his own hands and hired a strength trainer for injury prevention. He worked really hard on balance exercises and body control, which paid off because he went 4 years injury-free.
It’s a lesson for all of our athletes who suffer from multiple ankle sprains to take home. Reconstructive surgeries to repair torn ligaments can help, but rehabilitation, therapy and strength training to prevent future injuries must be a part of the plan.
This week, I spoke with 1590 WAKR morning show host Ray Horner about Curry’s ankle problems. I predict Curry will get the strength back in his ankle and we’ll see the best of the Warriors in the weeks to come. Let go Cavs!
Below is an audio file and transcript of our discussion.
HORNER: So, let’s bring in our good friend, Dr. Joe Congeni, Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children’s Hospital. Good morning, Joe.
DR. CONGENI: Hey, Ray. How ya doin’?
HORNER: I’m doing terrific today. Where are you gonna start today?
DR. CONGENI: Well, you know, the injury that NBA and Cavs fans are focusing on the most is what’s going on with Steph Curry (of the Golden State Warriors). Let’s talk a little about Steph Curry. You know, I think a lot of people forget that Steph Curry had a real rough go of ankle injuries early in his career.
You know, he’s struggling right now with his right ankle. He missed a game, uh, the night before last, uh, with a recurrence of this right ankle injury. He had an MRI yesterday and the, uh, report was that there was no structural damage; nothing to worry about was really what the report said in the media.
And, it’s not like Cleveland fans are sitting here trying to stick pins in, you know, the doll … or trying to find Jeff Gillooly, you know, Nancy Kerrigan’s friend to knock him out of the play-offs.
Uh, the Cavs would like to win with Steph Curry healthy. So for right now, he’s struggling with this ankle.
But looking back, he had a lot of ankle injuries, you know, when he came in the league in 2010. In 2011, he had his first surgery on the ankle. That’s not that long ago. He had a reconstructive surgery where they fixed the ligaments.
We tighten up the ankle when people have had many, many recurrent ankle sprains, which are torn ligaments. We tighten the ligaments up. He had that in 2011.
And in the 2011-2012 season, he only played 26 games. He missed two-thirds of the season with injuries to the right ankle again. And in fact, because of that, he signed a very modest 4-year contract for like $11 million dollars — way under a max contract. I don’t know if people remember that, but they were worried about his ankle.
In 2012, he had a 2nd surgery, kind of described as a cleanup surgery. And in that summer, he decided to do everything he could. They hired a guy for injury prevention and he worked really, really hard on body control and balance exercises.
And, the, uh, individual strength trainer that works with him says he’s one of the strongest guys he works with now. His balance [and strength] is incredible. He does, uh, 400-pound dead lifts. I mean, a little guy like Steph Curry. So, he says that through injury prevention, uh, Steph [has been able to do] so well in the last couple years.
He found a brace he really likes, and I’m a little surprised that people haven’t been asking me to get the same brace when they get ankle sprains that Steph Curry wears. It’s from a real little-known company in Irvine, California, but Steph Curry, you know, swears by this brace and swears by his, uh, prevention program.
And now, he hasn’t missed a game. You know, he’s played and been very healthy all the way since that 2012 season through 2016 this year, and now he reinjures the ankle.
The point of the matter, I guess, is we see so many of these kids in our office with ankle sprains, ligament injuries. They become recurrent. They have a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th and then we start talking about, hey, do we need surgery to tighten those ligaments and, you know, reattach or fix the ligaments that are torn?
After you have those surgeries done, athletes can do very well. But, we’d like them to remember that some of the preventative, rehab and therapy, and strengthening and balance exercises are also [some] of the things that helps prevent those injuries, as well as bracing and things like that … .
So, that’s the lesson that I probably would want to take home. He’s done so well for 3 or 4 years after 2 surgeries on his ankle.
HORNER: Mmhmm. Yeah for sure, and it seems like every now and then though that thing flares up, doesn’t it, Joe?
DR. CONGENI: It does. Yeah, it does and this must have been a more significant flare-up. You know, the way he tweaked it I didn’t see it being that bad in the game, but … the attempts of him to come back in that game 1, you know, when he was limping around [didn’t look promising].
This must have been a more significant flare-up, and to get the MRI [probably means it was] a little bit more significant of a flare-up. But, uh, ankles are a little easier to play on.
We remember a guy limping around a year ago now by the name of, uh, Kyrie Irving, and Kyrie’s [was] more of a knee problem. Remember how much he struggled to try to play in some games and he just couldn’t push off?
I think probably Curry will get the rest he needs to get that ankle stronger and we’re gonna see probably the best of the Warriors to come in the next few weeks.
HORNER: Alright, Joe. Thank you very much. Always appreciate the time, insight my friend. We’ll catch up with you next week.
DR. CONGENI: Alright, Ray. Have a great week. Thanks.
HORNER: You too. Dr. Joe Congeni, Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children’s Hospital.