Doc provides insight on Tyson's injury

March, 31, 2013
3/31/13
3:35
PM ET
Knicks center Tyson Chandler is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game against the Boston Celtics.

He has missed nine games with a lingering neck injury.

The Knicks are 7-2 without Chandler and are in prime position to win their first division title since 1994.

But there's concern over Chandler's injury. The All-Star center said last week that he's feeling lingering pain and "spasms," as well as painful sensation from his neck to his shoulders, from the bulging disk in his neck. The injury is being described by the Knicks as a bulging disk in his cervical spine.

Dr. Neil Roth, an orthopedic surgeon at Lenox Hill hospital who specializes in sports medicine and shoulder and knee surgery, explains that the spasms and pain could be the result of a nerve issue in Chandler's spine.

Roth has not treated Chandler and has no first-hand knowledge of the condition of his neck/spine. He simply wished to provide a framework of possible scenarios surrounding Chandler’s injury.

Roth, who has had extensive experience with neck injuries, explains that the disks in the spine serve as shock absorbers. They experience more stress during high-impact activities, such as basketball.

So Chandler may be experiencing an irritation in the nerve from small amounts of disk material that leaks out and irritates the nerves.

This in turn can cause arm pain, neck pain and muscles to spasms. Chandler has described feeling all three sensations.

There can also be a mechanical issue with a disk bulge. The pressure on the disk can block the nerve, which can cause a nerve irritation.

"It can be something you battle intermittently," Roth says.

He adds: "Once the irritation of the nerve calms down, the symptoms can subside."

Treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids to calm down the irritation of the nerve. A next step could be a cortisone injection to temper the nerve.

Also, muscle relaxants can be prescribed to relieve the muscle spasm and physical therapy can take pressure off of the nerve.

The team announced on March 19 that Chandler was expected to be out for approximately a week.

If he misses Sunday's game, it will be 12 days since that announcement. Chandler suffered the injury on March 13 after a collision with Denver's Kenneth Faried.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2