It was a scary scene when Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum went down with an apparent knee injury against the San Antonio Spurs over the weekend. As McCollum went up for a block, he landed awkwardly on his leg and immediately grabbed his knee in obvious pain.
There was a reason for concern as any knee injury can prove to be serious, but this one specifically had fans and fellow NBA players sending thoughts to the Blazers guard immediately. You can see the play below, courtesy of NBC Sports Northwest.
The outlook wasn’t great in the immediate aftermath, and even Inside Injuries pointed to the belief that it could be a “possible ACL/MCL tear with cartilage damage.” Per the site, this belief stemmed from “how his knee buckled when he came down hard.” This was prior to the MRI being performed on McCollum’s knee.
CJ McCollum’s Diagnosis Brings Positive News
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported, McCollum’s injury was fortunately not as bad as originally feared. He was diagnosed with a popliteus strain in his left knee and is set to be re-examined in a week.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that McCollum will return at that point, and the injury does come with rehab as he pushes to get back on the floor. There’s hope that he’ll be able to get back before the playoffs begin.
Bleacher Report’s Adam Wells dug a bit deeper on the injury and cited a bit of info from the Sports Injury Clinic about it. According to the site, a popliteus injury makes it difficult to straighten the knee and treatment includes stretching hamstring muscles several times daily and receiving deep tissue massages.
Kevin Garnett Missed Entire Playoffs With Same Injury
In a less-than-ideal bit of news, Dane Delgado of NBC Sports pointed out that Kevin Garnett suffered this injury while with the Boston Celtics in 2009. He proceeded to miss the entire playoffs after suffering the injury in late March. Per Delgado, the news that Garnett would miss extended time didn’t come until two weeks after the diagnosis (story originally from Boston.com).
It’s not a common injury, but it is one we’ve seen in the past in the NBA. Kevin Garnett, then with the Boston Celtics, missed the playoffs in 2009 after straining his popliteus muscle in late March of that year. It took more than two weeks from Garnett’s final game for the team to announce that he would be unable to make it for the 2009 postseason.
It’s unknown how these types of injuries can differentiate on a case-by-case basis, but the outlook Garnett suffered is concerning. With that said, the hope is that McCollum will get healthy as quickly as possible and return to the floor sooner than later.