The Milwaukee Bucks are currently the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, but they may no longer be the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty after guard Malcolm Brogdon was diagnosed with a partially torn plantar fascia.
The Bucks announced that Brogdon had suffered a partially torn plantar fascia that would sideline him 6-8 weeks. Assuming he hits the short end of that timetable, he should be able to return to the team near the end of the first round of the playoffs or at the start of the second round. But that timeline seems especially optimistic given the true nature of the injury.
Plantar Fascia Tears
Your plantar fascia is the tough band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the base of your proximal phalanges. It helps to support your arch and aid in balance and movement with every step you take. Considering all it does with each step, it’s easy to see how this injury can be a real pain.
The biggest issue with treating a plantar fascia tear is that there often isn’t a great proactive treatment strategy. Even with surgery, there’s the possibility that the scar tissue that develops while healing after an operation can lead to more problems than the original tear. Because of this, conservative care is the standard treatment for partial plantar fascia tears, but even non-operative techniques need to be carefully managed.
At the outset, rest is very important. Treatment typically calls for a couple weeks of rest and the use of a non-weight bearing cast or brace. This gives the fascia tissue plenty of time to reconstruct. From there, it’s a delicate balance of stretching, limited protected walking and physical therapy. You want to gradually restrengthen the area as it heals without putting too much strain on the area, because it doesn’t take much for a setback.
The issue for Brodgon and the Bucks is that while you can get back to most activities at 6-8 weeks, he’s not like most people. Then general rule of thumb for these types of soft tissue injuries is that they are back to 20% health by two weeks, 80% health by eight weeks, and full health by 12 weeks. If Brodgon was your average person, he could probably go about a normal day just fine at 6-8 weeks with only minimal discomfort and risk or re-injury. The problem is that he’s a basketball player playing at the highest level. He’s going to be sprinting, jumping, cutting and pushing off of that foot with great force on a hard surface.
Simply put, it’s very unlikely that he’ll be able to hit the six-week timetable for return without either playing at less than full health or exposing himself to a re-rupture. The Bucks are going to have a tough decision to make, because they’ll want Brodgon back when they need him the most, but if he returns too early, he won’t be fully healthy and could risk re-injury and missing the rest of the season.
Based on the injury and what he’ll need to do upon his return, I’d venture to guess that Brodgon won’t return to the Bucks until the Eastern Conference Finals, which are scheduled to start a little more than eight weeks after the injury. Even that seems like a stretch, but he’ll have the best doctors and therapists working with him every day, so all hope isn’t lost. Hopefully he gets the necessary healing and doesn’t suffer a setback trying to return too quickly.