Coverage of sports injuries often creates or reinforces myths. David Ring and Casey M. O’Connor, M.D., an orthopedic surgery resident at Albany Medical Center, help readers make sense of star athletes’ musculoskeletal disease and injury so readers can be better prepared to manage their own conditions.
Celtics all-star point guard Kyrie Irving is out of the NBA playoffs due to a complication knee from prior knee surgery.
Irving fractured his patella (kneecap) in an injury during the NBA Finals on June 4, 2015. The fracture required surgery to hold the fracture together with two pieces of wire threaded through two screws while the bone healed. After the bone heals, patients can keep the wires and screws in place; however, the kneecap is a prominent area and the metal may become bothersome.
On March 24, they removed the wire only. The knot used to tighten the wire is often the most irritating part.
On April 7, they decided to remove the screws as well. When they removed the screws they encountered a low-grade infection. Bacteria can hide from the immune system alongside metal or other foreign material. Once the metal is removed, the infection should resolve.
With the metal out of place the holes in the bone make it a little weaker and at risk for re-fracture with jumping, falling or contact with another player. When the decision was made to remove the screws, it also became necessary to stay out of full-contact basketball for four to six months while the bone strengthens after removing the screws.