Anthony Davis had a knee procedure earlier today in Los Angeles, the New Orleans Pelicans announced this evening during the game against the Indiana Pacers. After a consultation with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, it was determined that surgery was unnecessary on the partially torn labrum in Davis' left shoulder. Davis has played with the partial tear for the past three seasons. The timetable for Davis to return to basketball activities is 3-4 months according to the press release.
But, that's not all.
In a move that is unprecedented for this organization under the ownership of Tom Benson, the Pelicans also released details from Dr. ElAttrache's medical report. The report goes into quite a bit of detail on the nature of AD's labrum tear (it is a posterior labral tear) and spells out why Davis is not undergoing a surgical response to the injury at this time. The report also details the knee procedure.
Alternatively, Anthony is however, experiencing pain in his left knee secondary to patellar tendinopathy and a stress reaction of his knee cap which is limiting his ability to play. This has become very symptomatic over the 2nd half of the season. He is unable to play through this pain any longer.
This morning we performed an ultrasonic debridement of the degenerative area of the patellar tendon and further treated the area with a concentrated injection of his own bone marrow which is rich in cells and proteins that can reduce pain and trigger a healing response.
All that is technical jargon for many not involved in the medical field. Luckily, I am married to a rehab director who happens to know quite a few physical therapists. We got one on the phone (who happens to also be a Pelicans season ticket holder) to give a "Cliff Notes" version of what happened to AD's knee.
Ultrasonic debridement is, in layman's terms, a less invasive version of arthroscopic debridement. Rather than a scope, an ultrasound is used for visualization during the procedure. Davis has chronic knee pain (tendinopathy) in the patellar tendon and had a relatively non-invasive procedure (ultrasonic debridement) to clean it up. The 3-4 month time frame may be a tad optimistic, the therapist I spoke to said Davis may not be 100% until November.
Jeff Stotts of Rotowire also had a few thoughts on the procedure and information on another (far older) big man who recently had a similar procedure; Chicago Bulls big man Pau Gasol.
Interesting to hear Anthony Davis had a stress reaction in his patella. Tricky injury to manage.— Jeff Stotts (@RotowireATC) March 25, 2016
I’m fascinated that the Pelicans released Dr. ElAttrache’s entire med report after being cryptic with their injury reports all season— Jeff Stotts (@RotowireATC) March 25, 2016
Anthony Davis isn’t the first NBA player to utilize an "ultrasonic debridement." Pau Gasol had it done to both knees in May of 2013.— Jeff Stotts (@RotowireATC) March 25, 2016
@AdamReisinger Additional stress reaction suggests that this could be biomechanical. Hoping NO does a breakdown of his movement.— Jeff Stotts (@RotowireATC) March 25, 2016
The other side of this is the massive change in procedure by the Pelicans organization. Typically tight lipped on any and all medical information, the folks on Airline Drive chose to release far more than most NBA organizations do routinely. The surgeon's name, the specific procedure completed, and an explanation of non-action in the case of AD's shoulder. It is, quite simply, the most transparent this team has been under the Benson/Loomis regime.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache is an incredibly famous surgeon, perhaps trailing only Dr. James Andews. Dr. ElAttrache has performed surgeries on Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook among many, many others. To say the reviews of his work are glowing is an understatement. As fans of this franchise, we should celebrate that Davis saw the best of the best available and the sudden transparency by the Pelicans.
Hopefully Davis will be 100% and ready to go by the beginning of next season. He's in the best hands.