UPDATE: Amar'e Stoudemire will make his season debut against the Trail Blazers tonight.
With his return just around the corner, ESPNNewYork.com also took a medical perspective and spoke with Suns' head physician, Dr. Thomas Carter, who performed microfracture surgery on Stoudemire's left knee in October 2005. Stoudemire also sought a second opinion with Carter on his ruptured cyst in the same knee before this season. While Carter couldn't discuss Stoudemire due to legal obligations, he talked about how the Knicks could monitor his former patient's recovery.
Here are some key nuggets from the conversation:
Getting cleared to play: "Typically, you have to have as much full range of motion as you can, not having any swelling, and their strength, power and balance needs to be roughly 80 to 90 percent of the other knee before they let him go back to playing. Eighty percent for you and me, but 90 percent for a pro athlete. Preferably it would be the same as your other knee, but a lot of times, that's not achieved."
What's important when returning: "The flexibility, mobility, core exercises and balance. A basketball player may be strong, but if you jump on one leg and your balance is not good when you land, then you're going to be at risk for re-injuring the leg. It's not just concentrating on the knee muscles, but it's the entire body for recovery and to prevent injuries in the future. We're much more attuned to that nowadays as how everything relates to one another."
In-game monitoring: "Mechanics are just as important as anything and also fatigue is important. If they start showing evidence of their mechanics and activities are being altered poorly, then they are at risk for re-injuring themselves. We monitor heart rates a lot to see if they're ready to play also."
Postgame recovery: "Typically, with any joint and inflammation, you'll use ice after an event. If you have a muscle strain, then typically you'll use heat to get the muscle to become more flexible. Some people have ice baths and there are also therapy devices [called a cryosauna] that you can walk into."
New medical technologies in the New Year: "There's a thing such as PRP [platelet-rich plasma therapy], which is a very hot topic. It may have a lot of potential, but we don't know enough about the benefit of that. We don't really recommend it. A lot of guys are doing that with going to Germany for some of the injections as well, but we're still considering it investigational."
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