What's The Post-Surgery Delonte Forecast?
Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West underwent surgery Friday at Texas Sports Medicine to stabilize the fracture to his right ring finger. He will have a subsequent procedure to remove the stabilizing pins prior to his return to basketball activity.
The official word from the Mavs? "There is no timetable for his return,'' announced the PR staff.
Said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle before the game in Philly: "The surgery went well and he'll be out a number of weeks. We're not exactly sure how long, but in the meantime we're going to have to scramble a little bit.''
And scramble they did, with Jason Terry (nine points, nine rebounds, eight assists) getting help from Vince Carter and DoJo as the only backcourt guys available.
But is there a track record, a history, to consider when thinking about the return of West, who in his first year with Dallas has averaged 8.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 22.7 minutes per game in 29 games (20 starts)?
Based on Vince Carter's reaction alone during the Wednesday win over Denver, Mavs fans who watched know Delonte West's finger injury was a nasty one. Since the injury occurred we have learned West suffered what we call an "open dislocation'' and fracture of his right ring finger. It ultimately required surgery. Pins were inserted to stabilize the fracture and a follow-up procedure will be required to remove the hardware.
The question now is just how long will West be out?
Let's start with the good news. From the pictures we've seen it looks like the break occurred in one of the phalanx bones, not the more troublesome metacarpals of the hand. (Think Manu Ginobili this year or Jason Terry in 2009). Another positive that can be taken is the break occurred on the right hand of a lefty guard. When he is able to return he won't be forced to make huge adjustments to his shooting stroke. He can instead focus on maintaining his conditioning as well as rehab specific to his injury.
Unfortunately the injury remains a significant one. Mavericks head Athletic Trainer Casey Smith dealt with a similar injury in 2010 when Erick Dampier suffered an open dislocation of his right middle finger. Surgery was performed and Damp missed 11 games over a three-week stretch.
From what we gather, West's injury appears to be a bit more severe than that, meaning there's a small chance he could be back in three-to-four weeks but we should not be shocked if his recovery window falls in the four-to-six range.
Jeff Stotts, ATC, MAT, PES, is the Head Athletic Trainer for Mount Saint Mary Academy and is the DallasBasketball.com and Rotowire Injury Analyst
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