Post-game Reactions

Wow. I missed this yesterday. Now we know a bit more about why Paul Pierce struggled after the All-Star break—he had another procedure on his right knee, the third such procedure of the season. 

Via the Providence Journal:

Pierce disclosed Monday that he had work done on his right knee for the third time this season after the All-Star Game in Dallas. The first two knee operations took place on Dec. 22 and 25, which forced him to miss five games.

“My knee, after the All-Star break I got it drained, and it took me a few weeks to get the strength back in that,” Pierce said in Utah. “Then I sprained my thumb. It was the little things that were happening to me.”

Pierce said that he came back too quickly and that was why he was struggling after the All-Star Break.

Three questions:

1) Do we know exactly how Pierce’s knee got infected? 

2) Why are we only finding out about this procedure now? (Note: This is rhetorical. I know why—teams are secretive). 

3) How do we know this won’t happen again?

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Zach Lowe

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  • J-Ro

    Is it just me or does Paul Pierce seem to get a lot of infections? I can remember him scraping an elbow a few years ago and it got infected, and a few more instances. When I get cuts and scrapes, I never even bother to wash it out, let alone put on a band-aid and bacitracin.

    In an environment where Pierce has basically the best possible health care, why is he getting these infections? If he just naturally has a weak immune system or something, shouldn’t he get acknowledged more for being a really, really tough dude?

  • DRJ1

    @Zach– If you’re interested, the story is a bit more complicated. The drainage he had on Feb 15 was not the cause of the problems he had in the following weeks, but part of an ongoing problem that is only now finally cleared. Here is the analysis I did about this story:

    As reported in the Herald (3/23/10), Paul Pierce has now described having his KNEE DRAINED on the “day after” the All Star game. That would have to be Monday, Feb 15. Paul played the next day, on Feb 16 vs. the Kings.

    Paul also said: “Yeah, I was a little stubborn, since in the past I was able to play through it, and it really affected my play.” => Here he appears to be saying that in the past, he’s played with a balky knee, including after knee drainage procedures, and was able to perform normally.

    And: “It was a combination of everything. My knee, after the All-Star break I got it drained, and IT TOOK ME A FEW WEEKS TO GET THE STRENGTH BACK in that. Then I sprained my thumb. It was the little things that were happening to me.”

    This explains several open questions, and creates some new ones – including one big one.

    – We can be clearer now about what caused that serious knee infection back in December. It seems that Paul is having his knee drained on some regular schedule, and that the drainage he had prior to the December infection caused that infection (as we suspected). Note: A knee drainage is no big deal in most cases – you typically only need to rest about 24 hours after one. And in fact, we see that Paul did wait only one day between the Feb 15 drainage and the Feb 16 game in Sacramento.

    – But why did he say that “it took me a few weeks to get the strength back in that” knee, after the Feb 15 drainage procedure? Remember, he played the VERY NEXT DAY, which appears to be his normal historical pattern. We must conclude that it was NOT the Feb 15 drainage that directly made his knee/leg weak. It appears that the problems Paul had in the weeks following the ASG – the apparent weakness, and “no lift” issues – were all part of the knee problems dating back to the December infection, compounded by the thumb injury, and a minor foot issue.

    And the Feb 15 knee drainage was probably NOT part of any routine drainage schedule, but was made necessary by the therapeutic process related to the knee infection.

    – The knee infection issue is the glue in Paul’s statements, which can be made much clearer if rephrased:
    “It took me a lot longer to get over that knee infection than I expected. I even had to get my knee drained after the All-Star break as part of the treatment for it. It was quite a while before I got my full strength back, and I shouldn’t have come back as early as I did.”

    Many in the time just prior to the AS break were suggesting that Paul might not be ready to play yet, and should perhaps sit out the ASG. That, it appears now, was a VERY good idea. This is what Paul is referring to when he says he came back too soon.

    The remaining questions:
    – What is wrong with Paul’s knee that it needs to be drained from time to time? (Probably a chronic condition like arthritis or some other inflammatory process in the knee.)

    – How often does Paul need his knee drained?

    …And, by far, the biggest one:
    – WILL PAUL’S KNEE STAY HEALTHY UNTIL AFTER THE PLAYOFFS? My guess is no one knows. It’s all part of the mostly unpredictable health-luck factor that helps determine championships.

  • NV

    we don’t know it’ll happen again, just like Portlands GM didn’t know Greg Oden would be a bust and KD would be an MVP canidate already.

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