Why Steph Curry Will Probably Be Back Sooner Rather Than Later

Photo Credit: KNBR

Photo Credit: KNBR

All of DubNation held their collective breath Monday for what probably seemed like an eternity. Awaiting the MRI results on Steph Curry’s knee injury, Warriors fans breathed a sigh of relief with the good news that there was no structural damage and it was just a Grade I MCL Sprain.

But now people want to know- How long will the rehab take? When will Steph be able to get back into the Warriors lineup to lead this team on their march to another NBA Championship?

GM Bob Myers told the media that there are no guarantees (and there aren’t when it comes to rehab because everyone’s different), but expects the timeline to be around 2 weeks. That’s based on typical expectations for a Grade I MCL sprain with a 2-3 week return to activity. It could be longer he said, but I actually think that it will be less than 2 weeks barring any unforeseen circumstances. Let me explain why.

Steph Curry Knee Injury

The Injury

With the replays and pictures of how awkwardly the reigning MVP fell Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Center, I’m sure many were shocked and surprised his injury was not more serious. I saw many a tweet from pundits and professionals alike predicting a more serious MCL sprain or even an ACL tear.

Upon further review of the footage, I noticed two things that helped minimize the stress to Curry’s knee when he fell:

1) His Right Foot Was Not Planted- It actually slipped, just like his left foot did, from the sweat that was on the floor.

2) He Has Good Hip Mobility– His right hip internally rotates when he slips, banging the inside of his right knee into the floor, right where the MCL is.

At first glance, it looks much worse. But because Steph’s hips are mobile, and his right foot is not stuck to the floor, he’s able to preserve the alignment between the right hip/knee/ankle, thus saving his knee.  If either one of those factors were not there, than we may be talking about something else.

The Diagnosis

An MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) sprain is an injury to the ligament on the inside of the knee that connects the tibia to the femur. With these types of injuries, forces usually come from the outside causing what we call a valgus stress to the knee. This valgus stress causes gapping (or stretching) to the inside of the knee resulting in a sprain. With a sprain, there can be partial tearing (Gr. I) all the way up to a complete rupture (Gr. III) of the MCL. These injuries may result in swelling, pain, and tenderness along the inside of the knee where the ligament runs. Higher grade sprains are also associated with instability in the knee when tested manually by a clinician. Gr. I sprains do not show evidence of instability.

But wait? How can Steph have a Gr. I MCL Sprain (partial tear) if there was no structural damage on the MRI? Does he have a tear or doesn’t he?

As I mentioned earlier, it looks like Curry was saved from more serious injury by the way he fell. I actually did not see any valgus stress to the knee when you look at the slow motion replays. What may look like valgus, I believe, is just the way his knee was flexed as he was getting ready to plant that leg.

Without any visible valgus deviation or movement to his knee, Steph should only have sustained minimal, if any, stress to his MCL. He did, however, bang the inside of his knee quite hard into the floor. (You can see this if you watch the replay in real time). Swelling from that would be in the same area as his MCL.

So in the absence of any positive structural findings on the MRI, the diagnosis of a Gr. I MCL Sprain is basically made because he has swelling and tenderness on the inside of the knee in the area of the MCL. It could just as easily be a bad bruise though. There’s no way to really distinguish between the two, all you would see is swelling and pain on the inside of the knee.

Steph Curry Stretching

The Treatment

In the absence of any structural findings, meaning there is no instability in the knee, it’s just managing pain and swelling from here and getting Curry moving when he’s comfortable. Inflammation typically lasts from 48-72 hours after the initial injury, so they won’t know where exactly Curry will be until probably Tues/Wed. As he feels better and moves more, he should continue to improve.

With a top-notch medical staff that has already garnered recognition from Klay Thompson earlier this year for helping him through a back injury, and cutting-edge equipment at their disposal like the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, I have no doubt they will get Steph back in action as soon as it’s safe to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if Steph Curry starts feeling good towards the end of the week. That gives him a few more days to get his legs back under him before he’s released to return to full participation. So my estimate is he’ll probably feel ready to go at around 1.5 weeks (especially knowing that Steph wants to get back on the court with his guys). But as we’ve seen with these playoffs, it will be up to the medical staff and Kerr when he actually gets back on the court.

I’ve been really impressed with how the trainers and therapists have been able to keep guys like Bogut, Iguodala, and Livingston not just healthy, but playing at a very high level. #StrengthInNumbers to me applies to the whole organization. From the fans to the players, coaching staff to the medical team.  That’s why I’m hopeful that Steph will be back sooner rather than later. And that’s why I’m anticipating they’ll make a nice long run this post-season towards another NBA Title.


If Your Ankles Are Weak, Then Strengthen Your….Hips?


A few years ago Steph Curry was having problems with his ankles. Now the All-Star NBA MVP is having an amazing season having missed only 1 game. The secret? A training and injury prevention program that focuses on his….hips. That’s right, his hips.

A great ESPN article came out today to highlight the success Steph has had with this training program. Even though the problem lies all the way down the chain at his ankles, the hip plays a major role in controlling position of the lower body joints. If there is weakness up higher in the chain, the lower joints end up taking more stress. By working on stability at the core, Steph and his trainers have given him a much more stable foundation to move, change direction, accelerate, decelerate, and juke other players out of their shoes.

This is another reason why a good physical therapist, athletic trainer, or doctor doesn’t just focus on the injured area. Remember, the injury is where the athlete broke down, but the cause could be elsewhere. We see that all the time at our clinic. Someone that has plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, knee tendinitis could have the root of their problem at the hips. So just massaging the injured area, applying ultrasound or ice, and exercising the painful body part will only produce temporary results.


For truly successful outcomes, you need to treat the whole person. Look at Steph. He was good before and treating his ankles allowed him to play and be an All-Star. Treat the whole person, and he’s the NBA MVP and on the verge of an NBA Championship.

Golden State Warriors: Truly Strength In Numbers


It continues to be an amazing year for the Golden State Warriors. And when I watch them this year, nothing gives me greater joy than seeing Shaun Livingston on the court.

Many of you may not remember, but Shaun suffered a career threatening knee injury back in 2007 when playing for the LA Clippers. He dislocated his patella and pretty much tore every ligament in his knee. The Clippers decided to let him go as an unrestricted free agent after the 2007-2008 season. After being cleared by doctors to resume basketball activities in 2008, Livingston has continued his comeback with multiple teams. He’s even had to make a trip to the NBA D-League trying to secure a contract. After a successful stint with the Brooklyn Nets last year, the Golden State Warriors signed Livingston to a three-year contract this past summer.


His comeback seemed to come full circle for me with his amazing performance last night in Game 1 f the Western Conference Finals. Coming off the bench to spark a tremendous 2nd quarter comeback, the Warriors were able to hold off the Houston Rockets and take this 1st Game in the Best-of-Seven series. As a sports medicine professional, every time he makes a play, it gives me goose bumps, knowing how hard Shaun worked to get to where he is today after that knee injury.

One of the key reasons for Shaun’s amazing return is the wonderful medical staff he is surrounded by. Signing with the Warriors reunited Shaun with Head Athletic Trainer JoHan Wang. Entering is 2nd full year as Head Athletic Trainer for Golden State, Wang spent the previous 8 years of his NBA career with the LA Clippers. That included helping Livingston recover from his knee injury from the 2007-2008 season. So you could probably say no one in the NBA knows Shaun Livingston’s medical history better than JoHan. And having JoHan there, must give Shaun a sense of relief and confidence that allows him to perform at such as high level.

To me this signifies how important a good athletic trainer/sports medicine professional is to any athlete. It gives them someone that can track their performance, monitor them to prevent injuries, and evaluate their practice/training programs for potential problems. If Livingston’s performance isn’t enough proof that a top-notch medical team is important, since Wang has been with the Warriors both Curry and Bogut have been able to stay healthier and play longer.

Thanks to Wang and his team, Livingston is able to be a major factor in the Warriors deep run this post-season and we get to fully appreciate the talent that is Steph Curry. With the amazing medical staff to take care of its players and the support of the best fans in the NBA, I can see how the Warriors can say that there truly is “Strength In Numbers.”

What is Active Release Technique?

Those not familiar with the sports arena, may have noticed the acronym A.R.T. being thrown around by a lot of practitioners, especially chiropractors and orthopedic/sports physical therapy facilities. But what is it and how can it help you?

In this blog entry (I know I haven’t posted in a while), I’ll try to shed some light for you on what this is and how you can benefit from it.

What is A.R.T.?

A.R.T. is a patented soft-tissue movement based massage technique with the goal of breaking down scar tissue and restoring mobility. A.R.T. can be used to treat muscle, tendon, fascia, ligament, and nerves. Most conditions successfully treated by A.R.T. have one thing in common: they are overuse injuries.

What are Overuse Injuries?

In short, overuse injuries occur when the body is not able to accommodate the loads placed on tissue over time. As opposed to acute injuries where significant trauma may occur, overuse injuries build over time due to microtrauma. Microtrauma can be the result of athletic activities, or just the repetitive nature of our daily lives (like spending numerous hours at a computer)

What are some Overuse Conditions?

Some examples of Overuse Conditions that could benefit from A.R.T. are:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Jumper’s Knee (Knee Tendinitis)
  • Hamstring Tendinitis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • And much, much more!!

How Do I Get It?

ESPT is one of the few physical therapy facilities in the Tri-City Area (Fremont, Newark, Union City) that offers A.R.T. Another example of our commitment to keeping up with cutting-edge techniques to make sure you get the care you deserve and the results you want.

Our physical therapist Gigi Yee, DPT, ART, CSCS is not only certified in the A.R.T. technique, she’s completed an Ironman distance triathlon, where A.R.T. is considered paramount in helping some of these athletes achieve their goals.

For more information about A.R.T. or to schedule your treatment session at Elite Sports Physical Therapy, give us a call at 510-656-3777 or check out our website at www.espt-ca.com

Another MMA Fighter Working With ESPT

Elite Sports Physical Therapy is pleased to announce that we are working with MMA fighter Dominique Robinson, “The Real Fallen Angel.”

Dominique is a young up and coming MMA fighter who’s origins lie in the deep south of Louisiana. He began his training at American Kickboxing Academy under the tutelage of Bob Cook. He left when Frank Shamrock had a falling out with the gym. After splitting with Frank, he began to offer himself up as a training partner for the Cesar Gracie Fight Team.

Currently Domique works with Felipe Martinez on his boxing and calls this 2-Man Band the “Goon Squad.”He is willing to go where he can to seek knowledge and take is MMA fighting the the next level. At the current time, he is the only fighter to have studied under both the Shamrock and Gracie families. Dominique has a career record of 6-4 with 4 TKO’s and 2 Decisions.

We are proud that we can help Dominique continue to pursue his fighting dreams. You too can have access to the elite care that the The Real Fallen Angel receives. For information how, you can check out our website at www.espt-ca.com.

ESPT Supports Olympic Hopefuls!

At Elite Sports Physical Therapy, we pride ourselves in providing the highest level of sports and orthopedic rehabilitation. And we could receive no greater compliment, than to have people recognize us for the quality of our work. So it gives us great pleasure, to be able to sponsor Sho Nakamori in his quest for London 2012. You can check out his website here.

Few physical therapy clinics in the Fremont or Dublin areas could probably claim they serve this caliber of athlete. This a true testament to ESPT’s commitment to providing the best physical therapy care possible. Nobody combines clinical excellence, first-class customer service, and cutting-edge technology like ESPT.

“I’m very fortunate to have Jacon on my side as I continue about this journey of mine!,” says Sho on his website. And we are very honored to be working with Sho at ESPT.

With one of the few Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialists in the Bay Area available to the public, ESPT should be your #1 choice for sports and orthopedic rehabilitation. “We see patients from as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Carmel. It’s thrilling to have people seek you out because they believe you can help them out,” says Jacon C. Chun, MPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS, ESPT’s Director of Physical Therapy.

For more information about how you too can receive the same level of care that professional athletes and olympians receive, check out our website at www.espt-ca.com. With convenient locations in Dublin and Fremont, ESPT is easily accessible for all your sports and orthopedic rehabilitation needs.

TRX Is Here!!

TR Suspension Training is now available at ESPT Fremont and will be coming to ESPT Dublin. Born in the U.S. Navy Seals, TRX Suspension Training is a revolutionary method of leveraged body weight exercise being used by pro athletes and fitness facilities. Easily set up TRX users can safely perform hundreds of exercises that can build power, strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility. In addition to training, sports physical therapists are now using TRX to rehab patients and athletes.

TRX is a wonderful tool for all levels of patients. Users can easily adjust the resistance to meet their needs, while challenging muscles in multiple planes. Multi-planar movements are much more functional than standard one plane exercises. The result is more specific training, that is more similar to how we actually use muscles.

Even though TRX weighs less than 2-lbs., it delivers greater performance and functionality than large machines that cost thousands of dollars. As a result, it is seeing great adoption in fitness facilities across the nation. It is available at many Bay Area health clubs, and there is even a TRX specific training facility in San Francisco.

Call us in Fremont at 510.656.3777 to set up your appointment to try the TRX. Coming in the future to our facility in Dublin.

Follow Us

Elite Sports Physical Therapy is one of the few physical therapy clinics in both the Tri-City and Tri-Valley areas that you can follow on social media. You can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, of check us out on YouTube.

In our current world text messages, tweets, updates, and emails, this is the wave of the future and ESPT is not afraid to be a leader. Check in with us on a regular basis to get updates on the clinic, including postings for upcoming events and information about how to best care for yourself.

For more information about ESPT, visit our website at www.espt-ca.com or call us in Fremont (510.656.3777) or Dublin (925.452.4656)

Prevent Pediatric Sports Injuries With ESPT

As summer ends and we get ready to embark on another school year, that means student-athletes will be starting practice with competitions soon to follow. Depending on off-season conditioning, the coach’s awareness of injury prevention, and the athlete’s own physical development, some of these students will end up with aches and pains, while others will be able to avoid them altogether.

“What’s most disappointing is the majority of these injuries are totally preventable,” says Jacon C. Chun, MPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS, Director of Physical Therapy at Elite Sports Physical Therapy (ESPT). “Simple preventative measures such as adequate rest, hydration, flexibility, strength, and support, could mean the difference between sitting on the bench to recover or staying healthy and playing regularly in competitions.”

ESPT is better equipped than any other clinic in Fremont to address the issues these young athletes face. With the only Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist in the city leading the clinical team, you can be sure that each treatment program will be individualized for the injured athlete’s particular sport and needs.

One key in treating young athletes is to remember that children are not little adults. Things that you can use in designing programs for grown-ups, need to be modified when you are dealing with an immature musculoskeletal system. “The last thing we want to do is cause more harm, when we are trying to do good,” say Chun.

Another reason ESPT is more appropriately suited for these young athletes, is the fact that they can offer the most 1-on-1 Physical Therapist time in Fremont. With children, we can’t expect them to have the same attention span as adults. So most children cannot be left alone to perform exercises. They need proper supervision and instruction at all times. This will allow for greater adherence to to proper technique and successful completion of each and every treatment session. This practice model is why we will afford the greatest opportunity for success when working with young athletes.

Combine our clinical expertise and first-class service with some of the newest, cutting-edge equipment and it’s not hard to see why ESPT should be your first choice for an Outpatient Physical Therapy clinic in Fremont. Not just for young athletes, but for patients of all ages.

For more information about our services and how we can help you get rid of pain and get back in the game, contact us at 510.656.3777 or check us out at www.espt-ca.com.

What’s With The Tape?

Most people watching the olympics in Beijing were probably attracted to the colorful tape seen on numerous athletes throughout the event. It was present on track athletes, water polo players, basketball players, and for us in the US, especially on Beach Volleyball athlete Kerri Walsh.

I’m sure people were probably asking themselves some of the following questions: “What is the function of that stuff?” or “Does it really have any medical benefits?” or “Can I get some of that?” Well I’m here to inform you on what the “stuff” is and to tell you where you can get it.

What Is It?

The tape seen on all these athletes is called Kinesiotape and it was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase over 25 years ago in Japan. The Kinesiotaping method uses patented tape to help treat musculoskeletal disorders and assist with lymphedema reduction.

Since it’s introduction into the United States medical arena, Kinesiotape has been used by all practitioners including: physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and muscle therapists. The tape can be worn for several days with comfort and ease, thus allowing the individual using it to receive the therapeutic benefits 24 hours per day. It is currently used in hospitals, clinics, high schools, and professional sports teams.

How Does It Work?

The tape can applied two ways: UNSTRETCHED or STRETCHED. Both provide different desirable effects for the body, resulting in decreased pain and thus, increased performance.

UNSTRETCHED: With this application method, the SKIN over the affected area is stretched before the kinesiotape is applied. After application, the taped skin will form convolutions when the skin and muscles contract back to their normal position. The convolutions lifts the skin, and the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid beneath the skin improve.

STRETCHED: If joints or ligaments are injured, the TAPE should be stretched before application on the skin. This will allow the tape to hold some tension and to take the place of the damaged joints or ligaments.

ORIGIN-TO-INSERTION: Starting from where the muscle begins (origin), tape is laid along it and ends where the muscle ends (insertion). This is typically used for support by pulling and stimulating the skin/muscle back towards the point of origin, thus assisting with muscle contraction.

INSERTION-TO-ORIGIN: This is used for preventing cramping or overcontraction (overuse) of muscles. The tape is laid from the end of the muscle back towards the starting point. This is good also for strain/sprains and tendon injuries where it is desirable to decr. tension/stress on tendons, muscles, or ligaments.

What’s So Special About The Tape?

To ensure that the muscles can still move freely, Kinesiotaping is most effective with elastic tapes that have an elasticity of 130-140% of its original length. This will allow the muscle and joint to maintain its free range of motion, which will then allow the body’s muscular system to heal itself bio-mechanically.

The elasticity of the tape also creates the convolutions on the skin, which help facilitate lymphatic drainage and improve circulation. This results in pressure and irritation being moved off of neural and sensory receptors, thereby alleviating pain.

How Can I Get It?

You can check out Kinesio Taping at their website at: http://www.kinesiotaping.com/. Or be on the lookout at ESPT, as we will be providing this service in the very near future.