NBA player Chris Paul’s season could be in trouble after hurting his neck on the court. The Phoenix Suns point guard grabbed his shoulder in pain after going up for a rebound during a recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers, in what appears to be a very similar neck and shoulder injury to one he had already sustained during Game 1 in the Suns-Lakers series.
In a new video on his YouTube channel, Dr Brian Sutterer, an expert in physical medicine and rehab, provides a detailed breakdown of what exactly happened in the Game 5 footage, and pinpoints when the injury occurred.
“You can see he gets this sort of whiplash type of position, where his head suddenly gets forced backwards into some extension,” he says. “Unlike when he originally injured it, when his head was pushed in that direction, here it’s just the contact causes that whiplash… He is also looking over his right shoulder, so there’s a little bit of lateral rotation… It ends up being the same kind of result with how the neck and those subsequent nerves can get twisted.”
According to initial reports, Paul had suffered a “stinger.” Sutterer explains that this is an injury to the nerves either right after they leave the neck, or in the brachial plexus. “It’s also the grabbing of the arm in the same location that makes me concerned about an aggravation of this original injury,” he adds. “Oftentimes when someone has a specific nerve injury, we can get a sense of which nerve is involved based on where they feel their pain. So for Paul to again grab that area of his biceps, upper arm, shoulder, bring us to that trunk, that fifth or sixth cervical nerve route, which seem to possibly have been affected both these times.”
As for the rest of the season, Sutterer says there is a possibility that Paul could be facing a lengthier recovery than he’d like. “There’s really not much you can do in terms of active, hands-on treatment to make those nerves heal faster when you have an injury like a stinger,” he says. “Hopefully Paul will be fortunate here and the symptoms will resolve, like they do with a typical stinger, in less than a day… It could be two stinger injuries that he’s suffered in just a two-week time period. These repeat injuries raise the concern for more necessary evaluation to look and see if there’s something structurally going on that’s making these much more likely to occur.”
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