‘Jones fracture’ can be tricky, but odds are Durant heals just fine


VIDEO: OKC GM Sam Presti says it’s impossible to replace Durant

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The “Jones fracture” Kevin Durant sustained to his right foot is hardly unique to basketball players. However the bone in question — the fifth metatarsal — is unique, which is why pinpointing Durant’s return, plus potential complications, is met by sports medicine professionals with a certain level of caution.

“We don’t worry about this if it was, for example, the bone to the middle toe, because 100 percent of the time those heal. You never have the remote chance of nonunion when you’re considering the third or fourth metatarsals,” said renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. T.O. Souryal, the Dallas Mavericks team physician and president of the NBA Team Physicians Association. “The fifth [metatarsal] is very unique and it’s unique because there are tendons that attach there that are constantly pulling in the opposite direction that you want the healing to take place. None of the other metatarsal bones have that stress on them. Because of the mechanics, because of the blood supply, there is that little shadow of uncertainty.

“Those of us who do sports medicine on a regular basis have a tremendous respect for Jones fracture because it looks relatively innocuous, and 95 percent of them heal uneventfully, relatively quickly. But there are a few tricky ones that don’t heal uneventfully and don’t heal very quickly.”

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said on Sunday that Durant will likely undergo surgery, and he estimated the NBA’s reigning MVP will be sidelined six to eight weeks. Souryal said surgery is the most common treatment for athletes with a “Jones fracture,” and that Presti’s timeframe is on target for this type of injury.

The fifth metatarsal bone is the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe. A “Jones fracture” occurs toward the back end of the bone in an area that receives less blood and therefore can be more prone to difficulties in healing. For most athletes, the “Jones fracture” is caused by overuse, repetitive stress or trauma. Presti said Durant alerted the Thunder’s medical staff to discomfort in his foot following Saturday’s practice.

Because of the tricky nature of the bone, Souryal said the actual time an athlete misses can vary, sometimes healing before the six-week timetable, but also sometimes taking longer than eight weeks.

“There are some [Jones fractures] that heal in four to five weeks, absolutely, but there are some that take three, four months,” Souryal said. “And it’s difficult to tell which is which in the beginning. It’s just difficult to tell. As a result, we all have a healthy respect for this injury. In Oklahoma City, they have an excellent medical staff and I will give them tremendous credit for making the diagnosis early, and I am sure that they are in deliberations right now trying to decide what is the best course of action.”

Once the bone heals, Souryal said it will be as good as new. That’s not a guarantee that Durant can’t re-injure the foot, but odds are in his favor that he will continue on with his career with no further difficulties.

Mavs fans remember up-and-coming guard Rodrigue Beaubois, who fractured the same bone while working out with the French national team several summers ago. Beaubois underwent surgery and was on the comeback trail, but he re-fractured the bone during a workout as his return date neared and missed another significant chunk of time.

“He was one of the few percentages that did not heal fully and re-broke,” Souryal said.

The fact that basketball players are constantly running and jumping, the factors that likely led to Durant’s injury in the first place, means there is always a risk of re-injury. However, most athletes returning from the fracture, Souryal said, do not experience a setback.

“The positive spin is that the vast majority heal this fracture uneventfully and come back on time,” Souryal said. “It’s only those tricky ones, those few percentage points, that don’t. So if you play the odds, I think six to eight weeks is exactly right.”

16 Comments

  1. Kenneth Williams says:

    Look the thunder are the Kings of the early 2000- 02. They look great but just cant get over the hump that 1 win that ends with a parade, but they look great.

  2. Kenneth Williams says:

    All’s I know if the nba shortens the game then they better reduce ticket prices

  3. cavsfan says:

    WESTBROOK CANT CARRY A TEAM AT HE IS ALL FOR SELF, SO REALLY THUNDER FANS SHOULD WORRY AND PRAY FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY!

  4. cavsfan says:

    they are done westbrook is selfish and we all now that!

  5. Paul says:

    I see comments about Westbrook’s gonna carry them and Sefolosha contributed nothing. I think there should be some kind of requirement to make a comment, like basketball iq wise. Westbrook’s not carrying anything and Sefolosha was a good defender; that doesn’t always show up on the stat board which is probably why that comment was made.

  6. Paul says:

    They just better make sure he heals properly.

  7. SYDALE says:

    Time for Perry Jones to step up…

  8. keek says:

    funny to see people in complete panic cuz of this little injury to durant, westbrook can easyli carry this team for 18-20 games, Westbrook is the best scoring guard in the league(Yes he is better than you James Harden). Aslong as okc plays good defense, and move the ball they got enough scoring with westbrook, ibaka, jackson, jones, lamb.

  9. thespectator says:

    isnt kd gone for about a month? as long as they stay .500 they will make playoffs easy. why are people bugging? lol

  10. Elliott Singleton says:

    why are yall sleeping on westbrook like he cant carry this team? have you not been watching him play these last fews years he is more than capable of leading the thunder!!! ps: hes been a leader with durant on the court

  11. kenny says:

    this is going to show how important Durant is for the Thunder I say the Thunder will go about 50% without Durant

  12. jake s. says:

    There will be some ugly games… but the defense that is preached by the Thunder coaching staff shouldn’t change much at all. If the players on the Thunders squad all buy into the defensive way of playing and turning teams over… they willl go 12 and 4 without Durant. A lot of young athletic players on this team. They can run.

    • haha says:

      They lose Durant and Thabo Sefolosha. Two starters. It’s going to be hard. Their only chance to stay above .500 is if Westbrook is the best guard in basketball.

  13. DaAwesome1 says:

    Man, this is so hard. I like Durant so much I took 3 months making a speech about him to give to people I don’t even know. Hope thunder can keep above .500. If Westbrook don’t work hard, Durant gon have some harrrrrd work before him.

  14. harriethehawk says:

    Looking at this in a positive way, there is still time for the OKC Thunder, and this allows players like Roberson, Jones and Lamb to get more minutes and to get even better. It forces the Thunder to be a team and not focus on just Durant (or Westbrook). I think Russell Westbrook will be even more energized to be the team leader. I think he will blow up this fall. My only concern is the collective health of the other teammates, like Collison, Ibaka, Jackson, Perkins and McCrary. Very scary situation.