Friday, May 10, 2013

Advance birthday present!

Tomorrow is my birthday - I won't say what number, though it is a matter of public record.  But today I got a delightful birthday present, a day in advance.  And yes, my saying so is just snark.

Ten days ago I experienced an unpleasant knee injury while playing tennis.  It appeared to have been on the outside of my right knee, where (I determined from about 30 seconds of on-line research) the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is located. 

I couldn't get in to see my sports doctor (yes, at my age those of us who are still playing sports tend to have sports doctors, whom we have seen multiple times) until this past Monday.  And I couldn't get an MRI for the knee until today.

He said on Monday that he thought the LCL was fine.  But there was a lot of swelling, possible meniscus (cartilage) damage, and possible anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage.

I was skeptical on the ACL front, since my understanding is that it's in the back of the knee, and I had thought the trauma was on the side.  I was also really hoping that it wouldn't be the ACL.  Say ACL and I think: Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, major setback, surgery, arduous one year rehab.  In a word, ouch.

Well, you can probably guess the punchline.  Today I had my MRI, and within an hour my sports doctor called to say I have a complete ACL tear.   I guess this confirms once again that actual doctors, equipped with actual information, can do a better diagnostic job than lay people who are looking things up on Google.

The good news is that I can still walk, and don't need immediate surgery. My upcoming trips, to Stockholm later this month and Jerusalem next month, appear to be safe.  But it does look like I will be having surgery and rehab starting later this summer, since otherwise my knee stability and lateral movement capacity would be too low for me ever again to play sports such as tennis.

Further good news, relative to the torn-ACL baseline that I had in mind,  is that I gather I should be walking in less than a week after the surgery, and back on the tennis court within 3 months.

The difference in this regard between a casual athlete like me, and a professional like Rose or Shumpert, is as follows.  All of us are projected to be 80% recovered after three months, 90% after six months, and 95% after a year.  But  I can play tennis at 80%, whereas if you are driving to the basket and/or defending against the likes of LeBron James, you had better reach at least 95% before you even think about it.

No comments: