Dr. Tehrany talks about Hayward’s ankle fracture on Sports Illustrated

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On October 17th, during the game against the Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics forward, Gordon Hayward, suffered a gruesome left ankle fracture and dislocation that unfortunately, ended his season. After only five minutes into his debut with the Celtics, Hayward dislocated his left ankle and fractured his left tibia as a result of the collision with LeBron James. As Hayward came back to the floor, he twisted his leg right underneath him and shocked the players and the audience as his left foot was disturbingly pointing outward. The very next day, on October 18th, while the NBA fans were still recovering from witnessing the upsetting injury, Dr. Armin Tehrany was once again invited to be the expert voice on Sports Illustrated Digital Segment, talking about Hayward’s tragic ankle fracture. During the interview, Dr. Tehrany offered his expert opinion on Hayward’s ankle dislocation fracture and explained what challenges Hayward might be faced with during his recovery. Dr. Tehrany, who only saw a video of the moment when Hayward fractured his ankle, explained that in order for Hayward to achieve a successful recovery, the surgery would need to go extremely well with no complications, stiffness, swelling, and infection afterward. On the question if and when will  Hayward be able to join his team on the court later this season, Dr. Tehrany said he might be able to get back in action in three months, but everything depends on the severity of the ankle dislocation, as well as on the severity of the ligament damage caused by the fracture. Following is Dr. Tehrany’s video interview for the Sports Illustrated Digital Segment:
Maggie: This didn’t look like a clean break. This looked very gruesome – his foot, basically facing the wrong direction. From your point of view, Dr. Tehrany, what do you think happened? Dr. Tehrany: I think he is very unfortunate in the sense that when he landed, it led to a twist, and that led a deformity, so instead of the ankle being straight like this, and what I saw from the video, the ankle then became deformed like that. It looks like the ankle, so it looks like the ankle fracture dislocation that he mentioned, involving, probably, the tibia and the fibula. Maggie: What does this surgery entail? What can the doctors attempt to do today? Dr. Tehrany: First, I have to qualify by saying, all I saw was the video, I haven’t seen the patient, so I have now idea of the level of skin damage that the patient has, but in a case like, if it is, in fact, an ankle fracture dislocation, the best way to proceed is to try to reduce that fracture dislocation. Take the fact that the ankle is dislocated, and make it undislocated, put it back where it belongs first. That will stabilize the ankle, that will decrease the swelling, that will help the patient. And then, after that, it’s going to be important to try to stabilize the bones and do the surgery. Robin: Now, sometimes, these sort of injuries can look worse than they actually are. The last one I remember eliciting this sort of reaction in basketball was Paul George. If there is no ligament damage, no nerve damage, is there a possibility that this is not as bad as it looked? Dr. Tehrany: From what I saw, which was just a short video, I’d be very surprised if there is no ligament damage because of the fact the way in which you injure your ankle when it dislocates, you have to rip some ligaments off in order for that to happen. But that doesn’t mean that his result won’t be fantastic, if they are lucky and all goes well. We just need more details, and we just have to wait and see. Robin: What would be a recovery time on something this significant? Dr. Tehrany: Like I said, I don’t know any of the details of how bad the situation is, but if it is an ankle fracture dislocation which can normally be treated with a plate and screws on the outside, screws on the inside, he’d be looking at few months before he is back in action and I think the most important thing we have to think about is, first, making sure that he goes through the surgery well, there is no infection afterwards, he doesn’t get stiff, and if all that goes well, then we can worry and focus more on him getting back to being an athlete. Maggie: Specifically for a basketball player, where is this going to affect him the most? Is it the jumping, is it the lateral movement? Dr. Tehrany: It can definitely affect all of those things. The key is to try to make sure that the bones heal properly and solidly. The angle at which the bones heal, has to be perfect, and so it makes it more difficult in that sense because if you are off by a millimeter in terms of how things heal and the angles in which they heal, can put a lot of stress on the ankle for future arthritis. Robin: Would you expect him to make a full recovery? Dr. Tehrany: You know, other guys have done it. They’ve been able to get back on the field with surgery for ankle fracture dislocations. I think it’s too early to tell, we have to see how the surgery goes first. Robin: Would there be any possibility to return this season? Dr. Tehrany: This season – I’d hedge my bets.