A Doctor Explains NBA Star Kevin Durant's Knee Injury

Photo credit: Al Bello - Getty Images
Photo credit: Al Bello - Getty Images

Kevin Durant's MVP-level streak hit an obstacle on Saturday night during the Brooklyn Nets' game against the New Orleans Pelicans. With just five minutes left in the first half, Pelican Bruce Brown fell against Durant's left leg, causing the small forward to be removed from the court with an as-yet-unconfirmed knee injury.

In a new video on his YouTube channel, sports medicine expert Dr. Brian Sutterer reviews game footage of the incident in an attempt to ascertain the seriousness of the injury, and offers his professional opinion on what this could mean for the rest of Durant's season with the Nets. Playback reveals that when Brown collided with Durant, it placed a valgus load on his medial collateral ligament (MCL), which is on the inner side of the knee.

"If you bend the knee inward, you're going to put tension on this inner part of the knee and potentially sprain that MCL," says Sutterer. "If there's enough of a load coming in to the knee from the side, you can always have a risk of an ACL tear, so that's always a part of the evaluation with the physical exam. Your hamstring tendons on the inside of the knee actually come down to insert on what we call the posteromedial corner as well, and so there's potential for injury to those structures. But I would put an MCL sprain highest on the list based on the mechanism."

Sutterer goes on to explain that if Durant has sustained an MCL sprain, there's good news: this type of injury rarely requires surgical intervention to treat. "Typically when the MCL gets torn, it's going to tear more up at the higher proximal end closer up on the femur, if the tear occurs down lower at its insertion on the tibia, there's less blood supply, and so those have poor healing prognosis... but the majority of MCL sprains you don't need surgery for," he says. "For a grade 1 tear where there's just some mild spraining and stretching, usually you're talking on the order of weeks... Hopefully he's avoided something major here."

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