Greg Oden? Brandon Roy?: What!?! What Happened?

Greg Oden has been cut by the Portland Trailblazers due to chronic knee problems.  Brandon Roy announced his retirement in 2011 prior to the start of the season, citing “degenerative knees” as the major contributing factor in his decision.   Something is going dreadfully wrong in the Northwest! And it’s not the athletes’ fault.

This is the Greg Oden drafted by the Trailblazers!

In the August of 2008, I received a call from then Portland Trailblazer’s assistant General Manager Tom Penn.  “I heard about your services and want to know if you have an interest in conducting your biomechanics assessment on Greg Oden?” was how he started the conversation.  I replied, “Of course, what did you have in mind?”

According to Tom, they had just been given the ok for Greg to start practicing basketball.  After about an hour of conversation about what types of tests I would perform, Tom and I decided now would be as good a time as any. Well, it turns out Greg Oden was in LA filming an episode of a television show and if I could get there before he left it would be an ideal time to test Greg. So I packed up my biomechanics equipment and headed for LA.

When I arrived at the Mondrian Hotel in Beverly Hills, the hotel staff directed me to their exercise facility where I began to set up my equipment. Greg arrived shortly after I did and we immediately got started on the first of six (6) motion analysis-based biomechanics assessments I would conduct on him that day.  At the time, we called the assessment motion DNA testing.  The concept is based on the idea that no two people move the same way.  Every person’s motion is as unique to them as their fingerprint or DNA.  What affects the efficiency of their motion DNA is their physical strengths, weakness, injuries, habits, limitations, and more…regardless of whether their physical history is positive or negative.  It all affects how each person moves.

In Greg’s case, his history was affected by his height and injury history, as well as the training and rehab he’d undergone since his first day of playing sports.  At the time of his assessment, Greg was coming off micro-fracture surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee which cut his rookie season short before it started.  The procedure and coinciding rehabilitation program forced Greg to miss his entire rookie season.  According to team physicians and the medical staff, Greg was recovered and approved to return to the court for practices and “game like” situations.  Greg’s biomechanics assessment told a different story.

Test 1- I hooked up 2 inertia-based motion tracking sensors just above Greg’s knees. The assessment was designed to measure the symmetry of motion between Greg’s left and right legs to determine any differences which might lead to setbacks unless targeted with deficiency specific exercises.  The sensors measure the rotation, adduction/abduction, and flexion/extension of each leg above and below the knee.  In addition to the crucial range of motion-related data, the sensor also allowed me to look at the timing, tempo, and coordination of each leg during normal straight ahead walking and running.

Greg was given two walking tests at 3mph with a 5% incline and 4 running tests at other varying speeds of 6 mph, 7 mph, and 8 mph . Greg’s results showed an alarming disparity in the range of motion (ROM) between his legs with his right leg showing significant weaknesses above and below the knee.  Greg’s left knee showed increasingly large signs of fatigue and overuse resulting from compensations for the weaknesses and physical limitations of his right leg.

Test #2

For biomechanics testing #2, I placed 8 motion tracking sensors all over Greg’s legs, arms, hips and torso.  Each of these sensors would be give us valuable information about how Greg’s entire body responded to stresses and muscle imbalances.  Greg was asked to do simple moves including a functional movement screen referred to as an Overhead Squat (body weight only) and a single and triple vertical leap test.  The 3D-Motion Capture assessment confirmed the imbalances identified by his gait analysis and then some.

The following is an excerpt from his report delivered to and reviewed with the Portland Trailblazers medical staff.

From Greg Oden’s Report of Findings August 25, 2008:

Excerpt #1

Oden’s Right knee appears to have recovered from the surgery. Data indicates the ability to bear weight almost normally in the right leg’s Quadriceps and Hamstring muscles. However, a deeper look at the data indicates that Oden’s normal gait patterns have altered to compensate for weaknesses in his right lower leg.  And as a result, does not distribute weight appropriately throughout the entire right leg. To compensate for the original injury and lower leg weaknesses, Oden has started to bear at times as much as 144% of his weight on the left leg (Ex.: during running trial at 7.0mph for 15 seconds, ROM 10.8 degrees extension L compared to 4.4 degrees of extension R). To compensate, Oden’s right leg excessively internally rotates during extension (push off) at lower speeds. While at higher rates of speed excessively abducts and externally rotates indicating circumduction of the right leg. This action can lead to hip pain on the right side, lower back pain/injury and opposite side knee pain as rotational forces cause the opposite knee to twist and as a result may cause the quadriceps muscles to overload to resist the rotation. This could be the cause of the left leg Patella Tendonitis.

Excerpt #2

When asked to jump, Oden proceeded to bear more weight evenly during take off, but landed with over 30% more weight on his left leg, demonstrating a conscious or subconscious lack of use of the right knee. The overloaded landing can cause significant stress and fatigue to the left quadriceps/patella tendon.

After reviewing the report with the Trailblazers medical staff, I came to several conclusions.  The problem might not be Greg.  I learned from the medical staff that they were already working on some of the exercises and drills which I was recommending for Greg. My response was simple…Greg’s ability to do any of the exercises correctly without hands on assistance was hampered by his own weaknesses.  Greg needed (as do many people undergoing rehab) one-on-one attention to detail as he performed each exercise.  For example: If the goal is to increase the strength in the weakest parts of Greg’s right leg, the more complex the exercise, the more he was able to compensate and work around actually isolating the weak muscles.  Greg needed someone to watch over each rep and exercise carefully to make sure he was doing each exercise correctly until all of  the muscles being targeted were able to contract on autopilot.  Surgery causes damage to nerves which take time to regenerate, affecting the way a person performs an exercise.   This is nearly impossible in a team setting and requires private one-on-one therapy with a therapist who understands how each segment of the body is supposed to move.

From Greg Oden’s Report of Findings September 24, 2008:

Based upon the analysis, our recommendation is the following:

  •  Increase Overall Hamstring Strength
  •  Increase R hamstring and Glute Strength
  •  Improve R leg explosiveness
  •  Increase L Gastroc, Soleus, Glute, Hamstring and Quad Flexibility
  • Consider a more efficient shoe designed to lift the entire foot to improve normal leg stride.

In Greg’s case, every exercise or target area needing improvement on his list required slow, yet focused repetitions.  If Greg was asked to walk, run, squat or jump, he placed more of the load on his left leg than his weaker right leg.  I informed the medical staff that this overload would put Greg at risk for a major acute injury to his left leg.   Greg’s imbalance was so distinct that I even advised that staff that if he didn’t improve the weaknesses in the short-term and continue some of the rehab-like exercises for the entire season, his career could be at risk.

Career in Jeopardy after suffering a fractured patella.

And you can believe it or not, but the medical staff laughed off my recommendations. In fact, we spent nearly two hours at dinner with the medical staff questioning my results and looking for reasons to discredit the results rather than search for solutions to keep the team’s multimillion dollar athlete on the court.  At one point, one member of the medical staff informed me that Greg suffered from a true anatomical leg length shortness on the right side.  As a result of that diagnosis, Greg had been prescribed, by physicians, to wear a heel lift in his right shoe.  Well doc, I hate to be the one to tell you again, but the heel lift actually increases the load and the amount of anterior/posterior shear (forward/backward sliding) on Greg’s right knee, contributing to his need to undergo several micro-fracture surgeries.

The results of Greg’s biomechanics assessments created doubt in my mind about the leg length claims. However, I suggested an alternative to a heel lift if they truly believed that a shorter right leg was a contributing factor to his knee injuries.  The solution, for an athlete with Greg’s height and leg length, an entire shoe lift (orthopedic shoe on the right side) would reduce the sheer forces in the joint and keep Greg healthy while he continued the rehab.

You can imagine the laughter that filled the restaurant from the table.  “No one wears a shoe lift,” one staffer replied.  “That’s crazy. Where would we get one?”  To which I replied, “Hey Nike is Greg’s shoe sponsor and they are right down the street. I’m sure they could customize a shoe lift for one of their star athletes if it keeps him healthy.”  To my knowledge, no shoe lift was ordered for Greg.

Despite the medical staff’s objections to further testing, Assistant General Manager Tom Penn was sold on the results and wanted the entire team tested.  Over the next two weeks, we scheduled a visit to Portland to test the entire team at the start of the preseason.  Testing, of  those players not in camp or available at the time for biomechanics testing during my visit to Portland, would be completed during a practice session in Los Angeles prior to a preseason game with the Clippers.

After completing testing of the entire team (in Portland and LA) and a retest of Greg Oden in Portland, I was astonished at the results of the athletes on the Trailblazer teams. While some athletes demonstrated more biomechanical efficiency than others.  The results of several athletes stood out:  Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, and Joel Pryzbilla. Each of their results showed imbalances, which if gone untreated, would lead to long-term, career threatening, chronic knee issues among other random supposedly unrelated injuries.

Well you may not recall but in 2009, Joel Pryzbilla and Greg Oden both suffered patella or patella tendon injuries . The reports submitted to the team and its medical staff both specifically identified significant amounts of stress on each player’s patella tendon and knee joints as a result of compensating for opposite leg weaknesses and physical limitations.  From 2008 through 2012, all three players had each undergone at least one surgery each (that we know of).  Oden has had at least three major surgeries since 2008, and Brandon Roy is retired after undergoing at least three procedures since 2008.

Neither player consistently contributed significantly to the team as a result of the physical condition of their bodies.  Based upon my assessments back in 2008 and the marginal access I have had to follow their histories, each player’s the risk of each injury could have been significantly reduced or prevented all together.  So I say this to Greg , Brandon, Joel, and every other professional athlete…get a second opinion outside of the team. Take control of your body and your career.  Over the past two years, I have written about the risks of injuries associated with biomechanical deficiencies.

Pryzbilla in pain after a ruptured patella tendon.

Strong egos and lack of information are catching up to athletes and changing if not ending careers in all sports.  Nicolas Batum, Pryzbilla, Travis Outlaw, among other Trailblazers, all missed significant time since their initial biomechanics assessments from 2008-2009 due to injuries which could have been prevented and were pointed out in their reports to the team’s medical staff.  Brandon Roy was forced into retirement because he was not given proper care for his injuries. Greg Oden’s career is at risk for the same reasons.  Both players could still get back on the court and yes, Brandon Roy’s “degenerative knees” can be healthy and he could play for 5-10 more years with the proper treatment.

Brandon Roy following a preventable tear to his meniscus.

The solution: more testing to obtain more objective information is the only way to insure the investment professional teams make in athletes.  Tom Penn should be applauded as an assistant general manager for trying to make a positive impact on the health of the team.  Instead, shortly after 2008, Tom was not rehired and currently works as an analyst for ESPN.  Sure another Greg Oden and maybe even another Brandon Roy will come along for Portland. In the future, athletes like Greg and Brandon will be labeled injury-prone or a bad risk (as they have been since the beginning of sports). The risk is not the investment in the athlete, its the investment in the care they get from the team which drafts or trades for them. 

The Sports Kinesiologist’s Advice:

Wake up professional athletes as well as the agents and teams who care for them.

Mr. Paul Allen, this is your team and your investment is at risk! If you continue to do the same thing and get the same results…. I believe it is considered  the definition of insanity?

Athletes: Know your body, know yourself, and ask questions (even if if means getting an opinion outside of your team’s medical staff.  This is your career!

Want to keep up with the latest in sports and fitness injury prevention plus tips on how to reduce your own personal injury experiences?  Follow me on twitter @zigsports!


128 thoughts on “Greg Oden? Brandon Roy?: What!?! What Happened?

  1. Wow. This story is so sad. You’d think even outside of caring for the players as men, viewing them simply as in investment would make the team have more interest in their bodies working at maximum capacity.

  2. I believe the word you are looking for is “released”

    Brandon Roy can still play 5 to 10 years with proper treatment? Does that proper treatment include building meniscus from rice crispies?

    It’s been reported that Roy’s knee is bone on bone. How then can you proper treat his knee injury and extend his career? It’s my understanding the latest in treating Roy’s type of injury is barely affective in restoring the activity of a normal person’s demands and that it would no way be enough to meet the demands of an NBA player.

    I am a lay-person, your ideas about how you would have helped Olden (yes I am spelling it Olden) may be true, but your credibility really takes a hit when you suggest you can cure Roy’s injuries when other professionals in knee injuries cannot.

    I won’t be buying your book, because your credibility is in doubt. You cannot suppose something like Roy playing for 5 to 10 more years but then fail to supply any facts of how this could transpire.

    • Lance, thank you for your comments and appreciate your position. To clarify, Brandon Roy’s injuries cannot be “cured”. His knees are now pretty bad. However, the stress loads which will continue to contribute to Brandon Roy’s knee issues long after basketball are still present. There are procedures that can benefit Brandon Roy which require a quality rehabilitation program which he has obviously not had access to with his team. Depending on his level of degeneration or damage to the surface of the bones in his knees, he could potentially get back on the court. I am aware that Brandon Roy today has more problems as a result of procedures to repeatedly remove torn cartilage and other issues from his knees. However, instead of using rice crispies (which are very tasty when they are turned into rice crispies treats), I’ll detail in a post very soon some other options for Brandon. Depending upon the amount of “arthritis” in his knees, these options could help Brandon get back on the court. But someone still has help Brandon address the reasons WHY his knees are absorbing more force than they can handle. Not necessarily me, but even the Phoenix Suns take advantage of science in their athletic training program rather than traditional treatments.

      All the best to you.

      • Just to be clear. My position is still the same. If Brandon Roy reduces the stress that has caused his knee conditions, he should be able to play as I recommended in the article. In the upcoming post about Brandon, I will share with everyone just how this can be accomplished. Remember many people have been given 6 months to live by doctors and told they will never walk again only to surpass the “medical expectations”. Brandon Roy can play again and for an extended period of time if he takes action to address the root causes of his knee issues.

      • To be fair, coming from someone who is only 21 and lives daily with bone-on-bone in my right knee due to knee injuries i could easily believe the author here, due to injuries/surgeries i have suffered from a bone on bone situation for a few years now. But after rehab/physio at my public hospital ended in me re-injuring my knee, I went to see a private physio and a kinesiologist, the help they have given me has allowed me to return to playing football (or soccer, as you call it) three times a week and also to return to the gym, to try and lose some of the weight i gained during periods of injury.

    • The techniques this guy is describing is basically the same thing the Phoenix Suns training/medical staff uses to treat their players. And guess what? It freaking works!!!!

      Look at Grant Hill, he could barely play a game for 6 years with the Orlando Magic. Once he went to the Suns he played 5 relatively injure-free seasons.

      “Hill’s return to productivity was even more unlikely. “He couldn’t stabilize, couldn’t balance and do a lot of the things you need to do to play basketball or even be a stay-at-home mom,” Nelson recalled. “We addressed a significant loss of range of motion and strength in his foot, ankle and lower leg. But a lot of his issues were coming out of his hips and back.”

      After a career filled with medical stops and starts, Hill said one of the more difficult aspects of his recovery was learning to trust Nelson’s techniques. “At first I was thinking, ‘how do these exercises translate from a controlled environment in the weight room to the court?'” Hill said. “But over time you learn to fire certain muscles, you learn to control movement, and as you carry that onto the court, it maintains.””

      • Grant’s statement about muscles shutting down is crucial. Millions of people walk around life and even hit the gym thinking that because a certain exercise or activity should impact one muscle or another that it will automatically just because they perform the exercise. That is 100% false! If a muscle has shut down or is being dominated by another muscle, then the target muscle simply will not fire. this causes many other issues.

    • Tim Duncan’s knees were bone on bone last year. He looks great this year. Kobe has had horrible knee problems. He looks great this year. Both reportedly underwent a procedure in Germany. Yes, in the US, there are medical professionals who think they know it all and will speak like they know it all and scoff at any ideas that don’t fall within the narrow parameters of their training and experience. The response of the Trailblazers medical staff was very telling. On the other hand, in Phoenix, you have a medical staff that is doing a lot of what this guy is talking about, regular biomechanical testing. And guess what, they have TWO 38 year old players that they have kept pretty healthy, through testing, training, and diet. My brother was bone on bone in his knees and got a procedure called prolotherapy done that took away his knee pain. He’s 37 and can play soccer again.

  3. This report does not surprise me a bit. Tom Penn was the only person who agreed with your diagnosis and he’s gone yet the trainer who allowed Greg Oden to gain over 30 lbs and the Medical staff who went with surgery over treating the causes are all still employed. This does not make sense. Surgeries should only be done if nothing else will help, getting a 2nd or 3rd opinion is always the way to go.

    I can only imagine someone asking Larry Miller about this report, I’ll bet a million dollars his response would be “I can’t comment on that”. Why can’t you comment on this report Mr Miller? what are you afraid of? If I was an owner of a pro team, these tests would be run on every player under contract along with any player I was thinking of signing or drafting.

  4. This is beyond upsetting. For the players first and foremost, us the fans, and the reputation of the organization. We are a f***ing joke.

  5. Interesting read. Those trainers in Phoenix seem to work miracles. I always guessed they were doing something other than the norm.

    In hindsight, I wish our Blazers training staff would have given more consideration to this sooner. I think a healthy Greg, Brandon, and Lamarcus would have been formidable with a few good role players.

    Look forward to reading the article on Brandon.

  6. Wow, very interesting. Is there still any hope for Oden now? Did you ever discuss these issues with the athletes themselves and, if so, what was their reaction?

    • Yes. There is hope for Greg. I hope he gets with a private therapist and trainers who can help him get back to the level he demonstrated in his brief moments on the court as an NBA player.

  7. This is fascinating…..However, despite your credentials, that doesn’t make it 100% true. The prognosis and/or treatment are still opinions. For the sake of the players involved, I hope you are right.

    For us, the fans, I hope you are wrong….if for no other reason than already feeling cheated by bad luck when it comes to Oden & Roy…..and I really don’t want to believe that it was all avoidable.

    Anyway, fascinating read. Good luck with the book.

  8. I had assumed this is what was being done with rehabs for greg the whole time. What were they doing if they didnt have a personal trainer with Greg doing these types of workouts and tests all the time??

  9. In light of the recent injury to Lamarcus Aldridge I think an assessment of the efficacy of the Blazer training staff might be even more relevant. Also, do you have a opinion on how the number of games in this years compressed season as well as the frequency of games played in a NBA season in general might be contributing to the increased frequency of injury in the league?

    S. Ingram RN BSN

    • Thanks for your question. Rest is an extremely important part of preventing injuries. The schedule may have players less time to recover and heal from the wear and tear. But we also need to keep in mind that a lot of work is done in practice by all players in comparison to in games. As a result, the schedule may have only played a minor role in injuries during this season.

      • I would like to offer the opinion that in practice, in general, exertions are not as forcefully strenuous as they are on the court. What I mean is that in practice, EVEN if you think you are going 100%, you probably aren’t. We have all seen cases of teams playing at a high level one night, and then coming out and playing at a lower level the next night. A significant part of that is concentration and level of exertion. In practice, you don’t have that edge of do whatever it takes to win mentality. I think that others could probably speak about this more accurately, but I have found by experience, that while I may be able to go quite a while at 90%, even with some nagging injuries, trying to have that explosive 100% really drains me quickly and really puts a lot more stress on those injured areas. So, while teams might normally be spending the time practicing, they wouldn’t be experiencing as much stress. Just think for a minute, the difference between doing 100 pushups and trying to max out with bench press. Both are hard, and taxing. One takes more time, and perhaps is more draining. The other is more explosive, more powerful, and more stressful on all of the body parts involved. The second point I would make would go back to your bio mechanics. With those nagging injuries, guys will be favoring this or that side, limb or whatever. These imbalances might not be problematic or result in major injury at the pace and intensity which a practice affords, but might cause a major injury with the added stress of max performance during a game. How often do you hear about a player having a major injury during a practice? How many guys blow out their knees in practice? Almost every injury that sidelines a player, even during non-compressed seasons, are injuries occurring in a game, not practice.

  10. Just curious, but how much would it be to receive this kind of biomechanics testing? I had an ACL repair and menisectomy + meniscal repair 2 years ago, but I still have problems.

    • Depending upon where you go to get a biomechanics assessment it could range from $250 to $1500. The value is in the interpretation however so, its important that you get an assessment from someone who knows exactly what they are looking for in terms of compensations, stress, range of motion, etc, rather than just getting the data and comparing it to “normative” data. We don’t want normal if the average person who is normal complains of back pan, has had injuries, etc. You want to know how you compare from your right side to your left side and then to ideals.

  11. I’m curious what your specific qualifications are tha enable you to perform such analyses? I would expect you to have degrees (a minimum of a masters from a reputable university) and a background in biomechanics, etc. There is a reference to your degree in kinesiology from Western State College – they offer only 1 course in biomechanics. I can’t find any reference materials that would suggest you are even remotely qualified to comment on,let alone examine or test someone in this area….

    • Dr., Thank you for your comment. Are you saying that experience and education along with thousands of hours of research and consulting with medical professionals and count less than that of a Dr. with one year of experience? I appreciate your tasteful questioning of my credentials. But experience does count as well. But as is the case with anyone and thousands of clients over 18 years, that has to count for something as well. I just read the data. but more importantly the artificial intelligence of the software does a lot of the hard work. The research for the “AI” originally came from the Ola Grimsby Physical Therapy Institute in San Diego. One of the premier post graduate education and continuing education programs in the world. the data from their thousands of students (PTS, DPT, etc) over a 10 year period make up the foundation of my assessments. In addition, the principles of physics and biomechanics apply to all components of motion. Please keep in mind, that I do not read MRIs and X-rays. I evaluate motion as it relates to efficiency. Remember education and degrees are a foundation. I have studied the works of Dr. Gideon Ariel and worked under some of his students for several years as well. He is the reason we do what we do today. Respectfully yours, ZZ

      • Am a little confused…not about the 3-d motion testing you used in your analysis but in the results you conclude from the testing. Obviously 3-D motion analysis has its place but is not absolute(sensors are placed on the skin which at times moves differently then the underlying joint being evaluated)-so I figure there are some validity issues there.

        Test 1 you claim is testing symmetry of motion(also timing, tempo etc) but you conclude that the range of motion differences noted left to right are due to weaknesses above and below the knee-how do you conclude this-obviously with noted range of motion limits I would figure that there may be a joint or soft tissue limitation to motion and not necessarily weakness present-so did you do isokinetic testing at different speeds to uncover the weaknesses? Did you also perform manual physiologic and accessory mobility testing at the evaluated joints to deliniate joint from soft tissue restriction, or look at muscle length to determine where the imbalances are?-as it is not clear if you have the neccessary medical training and qualifications to perform such an evaluation.

        You then go on to conclude that he was bearing at times 144% of his weight through one leg based on range of motion assessment in hip extension-which i am assuming is from his leg underneath him to before it leaves the ground behind him-so did the computer program conclude a measure of force(without force plate use) from range of motion values at the hip? What about when he first loads the leg?

        You then state that the other leg will compensate for the rotation and abduction compensations noted in the weak leg, specifically that the quad will have to overload to resist rotation and this may have caused his patellar tendonitis. I am pretty sure from a anatomy and biomechanical standpoint that the quads do not resist External rotation, but in fact the hip muscles do. I understand that your education qualifies you to evaluate biomechanics but does it also qualify you to prescribe rehabilitative exercises? Enjoyed reading the article but would appreciate comments in regards to the conclusions drawn from the testing as I was a little puzzled.

    • As a former member of a university faculty, I am curious as to why you feel the need to write your name as “Dr.,” as though it were an abbreviation for a given name, AND supply “PhD” in your screen name. And I am curious as to what discipline you represent and how that qualifies you to evaluate undergraduate and graduate programs in the field of kinesiology.

    • Who cares what letters follow his name? I could care less about the alphabet soup behind anyone’s name if they have the credibility and experience to back it up. Zigsports… keep doing you brotha! Let the Ph.Ds, MDs, ABCs, and XYZs, talk their talk while you actually do things that benefit people.

  12. In my research over the past 2 years, it is and has been my opinion that many of the injuries sustained by professional athletes these days are caused (root cause) by an over acidification in the body. This can be prevented. Like I told Jeff Pendergraph last year, if you look at the injuries that professional athletes sustained 20 to 30 years ago, the majority of them were cause by hard hits and severe contact. These days many athletes are having severe injuries from non-contact play. The kids today have all grown up eating and drinking garbage. They are no different than the rest of us who eat acidic diets. Then they drink sports and energy drinks which are very acidic.

    They drink Gatorade because they have been told that it is a great source of electrolytes. However, it is so acidic that your body’s natural reaction is to use its own electrolytes to neutralize the high amounts of acid consumed in the Gatorade. It really defeats the purpose. They should all be drinking alkaline antioxydant water instead.

    The water would also break down the lactic acid build up much quicker making the recovery time from games, practice and workouts much shorter. Several athletes swear by Kangen water. I also do. Some people want to say it’s snake oil or doesn’t work but they are the uneducated closed minded people.

    Either way, I wish the team would try methods other than the old school traditional ones.

    • Welcome to my world:-) much of what we do today is based on antiquated philosophies. Toxic levels in the body definitely contribute to poor muscles function inhibiting growth, development, and function. My nutrition partner Kyle Brown of San Diego has made me a huge believer in the role nutrition plays in performance. We get swayed by marketing and endorsementinto using products which hamper athletic and physical development. We have become a country of followers(not a world but country). The US needs an open mind. Or a wake up call. Ring ring ring. We better answer or get left behind other countries as we were athletically in the 60’s

    • What about the Mediterranean diet, full of vinaigrettes, tomato sauces, and wine? Isn’t that an acidic diet, yet also considered to be one of the most healthy? I’m obviously a lay person in this matter, but “acidity” as a problem sure sounds awfully general and unscientific. I would imagine that the biochemistry of the body is far more complex and sophisticated than simply “consuming acids makes you acidic, so drink alkaline water”. As I said, I’m uneducated in this matter, but it’s not any more closed-minded to question new, untested theories than it is to question old school traditional ones.

  13. I would also like to add the following. Cutting Greg Oden was a worse descision than drafting him in the first place.

    Some other team WILL sign him for a league minimum just to have the rights to him in case he does recover. I think he has a good chance of coming back if he gets the right help.

    If he comes back and can learn how to take care of his body, he will be a fairly dominant center in the league. This will have every other team and fan of the NBA laughing even more at Portland.

    Portland could have kept him for not much money. They have already paid him more than 20 million dollars to play 82 games. Why not a couple more to see if things pan out. I give the Blazers a solid “F” for cutting Greg.

    • Joel actually suffered an injury to the leg we identified as weaker. So his rehab actually forced him to strengthen the leg I indicated he needed to improve. Unfortunately, it was after the injury and subsequent surgery. As a result, he missed time on the court while doing what I suggested (inadvertently). As a result f that rehab, he has been able to come back and continue to play. In Greg’s case, his patella injury should be considered an overuse injury to his previously healthy leg. But the root cause of his knee problems are more than likely still present as he awaits being healthy enough to be operated on again. And unfortunately, if the causes are not address, another procedure is likely to be required to his knees, left Achilles tendon, or right hip at some point in the future.

  14. >>Brandon Roy’s “degenerative knees” can be healthy and he could play for 5-10 more years with the proper treatment.

    That’s simply absurd unless one believes in a magical meniscus fairy that leaves new cartilage in the knees of good boys and girls who believe hard enough…

  15. >>Brandon Roy’s “degenerative knees” can be healthy and he could play for 5-10 more years with the proper treatment.

    I’m reminded of Eric Idle in “The Meaning of Life” obliviously asking about his leg that a tiger has bitten off, “So it will just grow back again, will it?”

    The only way Brandon Roy is gonna play 5 to 10 more years in the NBA is if one believes in the Magical Meniscus Fairy that brings cartilage to good boys and girls who cross their fingers and believes hard enough…

    • That fairy you speak of came to visit me personally in 1997 as a part of my 8th knee surgery and delivered healthy cartilage to my knee which remains intact today nearly 15 years later (After suffering 2 two ACL reconstructions within 12 months and six surgical procedures to remove torn cartilage). A meniscus transplant is another option. However, if corrections are not made to the body to reduce the stress, that meniscus will be damaged as well. So be careful what you wish for my friend. We live in an age where science and medicine provide us with many options. Brandon may have done damage to the lining of the the bones in his knee which may make him ineligible for the procedure (only a surgeon can determine if he is eligible). However, if he is a candidate, he could play again as I previously stated. But if he does not address his body’s issues which cause him to place stress on the interior of the joint, that procedure may fail.

  16. Have you tried contacting Brandon Roy or Greg Oden again to give them your personal analysis of their injuries? Since as much as I love the blazers, I love the players who play for them too. If the blazers are too ignorant to accept help then I hope that the players might be more openminded.

    • We are presently reaching out to both parties. If they really want to know how to improve their conditions and get back on the court, I am not the only option. There are many qualified open minded professionals who understand the importance of looking at each athletes entire history and physical strengths and limitations when designing a program of care. I only offer an accelerated method of identifying the root cause of their issues. In less than 1 hour, we could identify and begin to show improvement on the root cause of their issues and relieve pain immediately (temporarily). Permanent changes can take 9 to 12 months but rehab for someone like Greg and Brandon is now a part of their lifestyle fitness program. they won’t be required to do physical therapy for the rest of their lives, but some form of corrective care will be necessary for each for a long time to insure that no setbacks or flareups reoccur.

  17. How exactly would you, for example: “Increase R hamstring and glute strength” without in turn creating an imbalance? Same goes for any of the unilateral goals stated? Focusing on such precise muscle development only lends itself to overdeveloping those areas leading to compensations and further inefficiencies and injuries.

    Also, did anyone ever look at imbalances in Oden’s hips? An elevated hip would make one leg appear shorter and also create serious issues in the spine and load bearing in the joints. That would be correctible through proper training and not by enabling the compensation with a lifted shoe.

    • Thank you for the post. I agree with some of your advice, not that you were seeking approval from me. I am just a guy who does movement testing. Orthotics of any kind are intended to be a temporary fix while we work on the issues which contribute to the deficiency. Instead, they have become a source of revenue for the provider who suggests new orthotics every 6-12 months. Eventually, the orthotics would become obsolete if the person is working to correct the issues requiring them to wear orthotics, thus cutting into a big portion of revenue for that particular industry. We wouldn’t wear a knee brace daily for the rest of our lives, so why orthotics? This will be an upcoming blog in May 2012.

      As for the imbalance you state would be caused by isolating one particular muscle group, the recommendations in my post were intended to address the existing imbalance not create one. It was already present. Greg’s imbalances have been exacerbated by every surgical procedure which called for his body to overuse his left leg while recovering from the surgery. The muscles impacted by the surgical need in some cases need to be re-awakened or turned back on. There a number of procedures which can impact muscle activity level as well as strength and flexibility. Every person who undergoes surgery must spend time not just recovering from the surgery, but also recovering from the subsequent imbalance created or increased by the procedure.

  18. Interesting Read. You presented your arguments objectively, providing data to make most your claims, which certainly does not hurt your credibility. However, a couple of questions arose in my mind that do give me reason to question the credibility of your data.

    First, what injury could your beimechanics test have prevented for Nic Batum? It was recorded on television, and well documented in media reports, that Batum missed considerable time due to a shoulder injury caused by a collision with another player. While he’s missed a couple of games since for other reason, little to nothing has been extensive or beyond what’s considered normal wear and tear on an NBA body. Are you saying biomechanics can predict and prevent player collisions, or is there a separate injury I am unaware of?

    Second, is your claim on Brandon Roy’s knees. To say he has 5-10 years left is a tough statement to believe, especially since it required your clarification to a reader’s question to understand how you think that possible. You went on to outline that scientific approaches are available that the Blazer staff, due to your claim they have a tradition approach to medicine, have not considered. Do you have a link or source that outlines exactly what is their medical philosphy? As a 5th grade teacher, science if my favorite subject. I have a hard time buying that NBA level doctors turn a blind eye to science, the very thing that built their profession.

    I am also curious about your response to Dr. Arthur Jones. Like anyone reading an article reporting on medical information, he asks for your qualifications. Given the boldness of your claims and assertions, this seems a fair question, yet you responded with:
    “Are you saying that experience and education along with thousands of hours of research and consulting with medical professionals and count less than that of a Dr. with one year of experience? ”

    Well…yes, it does. A Doctor with even one year of experience has had to undergo the thousands of hours of research and study much like yourself. Furthermore, that first year doctor has the credential to prove he’s put in those hours, which bears more weight in the context of legitimacy. In the eyes of an objective reader, it does not matter how prestigious your graduate school was, if you cannot provide evidence that your school sees you as a qualified professional and has consequently awarded you a degree.

    You state that Education and Degrees are a foundation. As a state certified educator, I respectfully disagree. Education is a foundation. Degrees are proof that foundation has been acquired.

    Understand that when you claim “experience” as your only source of credibility, it’s natural to think your greatest field of experience is in BS.

  19. I left a comment earlier today that sadly did not get posted. May I asky why? My post was not inflammatory or offensive, and devoid of foul language. I asked sincere questions regarding serious claims in this article, and would greatly appreciate an explanation. In case you forgot my questions, I saved a screenshot of what I wrote after its initial post and would be happy to e-mail it you.

    Thank you!

    • Your post was fine except for the personal attack at the end. I will reply to the genuine and sincere questions in your post. It will be re-posted minus the negative attack. Please look for it as part of the response to Dr. Jones’ (PhD) comment. As a parent, I hope your teachings to your students are question without the need for insults of any kind. In my blog, I did not insult anyone I only reported what happened. There were no personal attacks of the staff who attacked me. Debate is great, but in politics today, our children witness adults who feel the need to demean their opposition, which is not necessary to get our point across.. Thank you and have a blessed day.

  20. Pingback: Blazers Ignored Oden And Roy Injury Warnings (And Guide To Preventing Them) - Cosby Sweaters

  21. In general do NBA teams embrace your work? Did you say it’s used in Phoenix? Specifically (because it’s a team I am a fan of), what response if any have you gotten from the Dallas Mavericks to this sort of physical evaluation of players?

    • In general there is a fear that if we look closely at athletes true physical attributes under the microscope of motion capture, we may do more harm than good. As a result, the industry chooses to ignore it as a whole. Unfortunately, no, the Mavericks have not been significantly exposed to it. Teams who have been exposed include the New York Knicks (2008 draft pick Danillo Gallinari and a few other players were tested during the 2008 NBA Summer League. Interestingly enough, two days after we gave the results to the Knicks staff indicating excessive stress in Danillo’s back, he suffered a low back injury which affected him most of the 2008-2009 season. He has not been retested.

  22. Great article and I want to believe everything you suggest in it. One question though, do you believe with the knowledge and technology that you have you could possibly help Yao Ming’s foot injuries and help him too get back on the court for at least a few more years? because if that’s the case, it would absolutely be breakthrough. He’s the type of player that I would target based on his global impact, if I had the type of knowledge that supposedly do.

    There’s also been major concerns about the recent injuries with Jeremy Lin’s knees as well.. This is because he’s had problems with his right knee before and now recently needed surgery on his left knee. However, I trust that the NY Knicks organization are doing everything in their power to ensure Lin comes back fully healthy. Also is Jeremy’s Lin’s training over the summer with Sparta the type of methods/technology similar to what you are involved with?

    At this point, Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin might be more wishful thinking in terms of clients, but if I were you…I’d go see if I could work with China’s supposed successor to Yao Ming…Yi Jianlian of the Mavs. Even though a lot of his play has more to do deal with the mental side, there’s been many times when he too goes down with injuries. Since he is borderline trying to even stay in the NBA, perhaps if you pitched your ideas to Yi and his people, that might be your big break in getting your company going.

    • Thanks for the comments and questions Cali Stunna. I reviewed the program you describe and it is definitely a program headed in the right direction. But in my research of force plates (which Sparta and other programs use in their training, it is only a measurement of a performance variable. Force plates accurately measure a result. Some force plates do provide very useful data and I praise Sparta for being a science based facility. However, force plates do not measure what the athlete did physically to achieve the results. For example: Force plates can measure the amount and direction of forces as an athlete walks or jumps. This can be used to help the athlete improve the directional efficiency of their jumping or walking/running. In some cases weight distribution can also be effected through the use of force plates daily. But if a simultaneous measure of their body posture (bends, rotations, and tilts) are not also measured, the force plate data may be flawed. An athlete can impact their force plate data (no pun intended) by adjusting their body weight in any direction by one of those three postural movements.

      Jeremy Lin has some obvious glaring issues in his “body segment” postures which can be improved quickly. He may be “training with science” but only half of what could be used in assessing his performance. I have entire blog almost completed regarding Yao Ming and truly believe that he too can be back in the game (depending on damage done to his body by surgical procedures). In 2008, we tested some Houston Rockets during the NBA summer league in Las Vegas. At the time, the goal was to test their entire team. I repeatedly discussed the testing programs with their athletic trainers, specifically with regards to Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, who were both suffering from chronic injuries. But after months of discussions, I was told that the testing was too expensive and not in the budget. From my feedback, the trainers wanted the testing, but management shot it down.

      Yi Jianlian is a candidate for testing as are many players in professional sports who need their bodies put under the microscope of 3D testing for an evaluation of their human movement. Testing can only be viewed as a tool for insurance on the multimillion dollar investments of each athlete. I offer a program which we call Biomechanics data storage. In that case it allows us to collect the data of the athlete’s motion. In the event of an injury in the future, the rehab can be geared towards helping the athlete return their body to their previous data readings at a minimum, in addition to improving their efficiency completely.

      Thanks again.

      @zigsports (twitter)

  23. I was also wondering if you were going to respond to the logical questions raised in my post concerning the interpretation of the 3-D testing as I am still puzzled at how you arrived at your conclusions based on 3-D motion testing alone. Thanks @zigsports

    • Ryan, your questions that in essence demand him to outline and validate every step of the process are way out of line. This isn’t a thesis or an article being submitted to JAMA for verification by others, so why should he lay bare his work for others to steal and use? If you think there’s a better way to analyze such issues, you need to develop your own work.

      • David. Thanks for the support. I have spent the last 18 years doing what I like to call research with a purpose in the field. While myself and other professionals in the field health and wellness never like to think we are practicing our craft, we are doing just that. A doctor goes to school and opens his/her “medical practice”. From patient to patient they try different prescriptions of exercise or therapy and even medicine to see “how the symptom responds (Those recommendations are based on their experience and that of others, which is sometimes published in research journals like JAMA and others).

        I have never had a desire to publish research. All of the research is reported and then used to treat the “average person” suffering from the condition. My “practice” has been focused on researching and treating the differences in each person. We are all different. We have different physical makeups and histories which affect the success of a recommended treatment. If we continue to make recommendations for one person because it worked on the last person or based on the research of a condition, we are destined to have some temporary success from patient to patient. We must start to treat the individual not the ailment or symptom.

        Within the last 10 years, I was invited to participate in a research with an instructor and Ph.D. who was doing research on baseball biomechanics and how certain exercises could impact ball exit speed. While conducting the research and adding motion capture to measure what the body was doing in each athlete, I noticed inconsistencies in the way bat speed was being reported. (this was a tool I had used before until I realized it was inaccurate. I discussed the flaws with the researcher who told me the accuracy of the tool he was using to measure ball exit speed was not important, as long as he got a number he could report in his findings. However, his tool for measuring ball exit speed would pick up the “bat’s velocity” and on other swings, the “ball’s exit speed”. I removed myself and my data from the study. A year later, I was attending a Sports Performance Symposium put on by an international strength and conditioning certification body. And who was there??? The PhD researcher was presenting his findings, even though they were inaccurate. But here was a room of over two hundred, 22 to 50 year old professionals in strength and conditioning, jotting down notes feverishly. They were unaware of the inaccuracy of the research. But it was later published. Is this right? Not in my book. @zigsports

    • Ryan, thanks for the questions. My methods are what make me different than others in the field of evaluating motion. While I understand your desire to validate or invalidate my conclusions the question goes beyond what I am prepared to do. I have developed a curriculum around my methodology just as NASM and other certification agencies have done over the years. But to answer your question in the way that I can. I use 3D motion capture to evaluate human movement. Every joint or muscle in the body has a specific task. Each joint is supposed to absorb and transfer the “appropriate” amount of force and transfer it to the next segment or group of muscles in the kinetic and kinematic sequence of the motion. Motion capture allows me to measure that transfer of energy and how it affects each joint or muscle group in the chain. That should provide clarity for you as to how 3D testing combined with a knowledge of kinesiology can help any professional working with athletes or any individuals to improve their performance, in addition to recovering from and preventing injuries.

  24. Way out of line?? I should hope not David. What I was asking(not demanding) is pretty well spelled out in the first sentence of my post…I was not asking about 3-D motion testing itself-not asking Mr. Zigeler to outline every step of the process of how he does it or “lay bare his secrets for all to see and steal.” I was asking about clarification of the conclusions of his testing(which, with all sincerity, I hope asking about results from tests placed in a public forum by the person completing the tests is not considered out of line). I did not demand he tell me how he is controlling for the change in instant axis of motion of a joint as it moves in regards to sensor placement on the skin(one of the challenges/issues with 3-D motion testing)-as he stated he has been doing this for a number of years and which would frankly be insulting/out of line for me to insinuate his process is in any way flawed. As for trying to dig for his secrets David, 3-D motion capture analysis is not something new, it has been used throughout sports medicine in evaluation, research, treatment for quite sometime in isolation and used along with other assessment means so I completely understand the process behind it .

    My post was simply asking about the results that were stated..i.e. 1. a determination of strength deficit from a range of motion measurement was made, 2. A weightbearing/force measurement issue was determined again from a range of motion measurement. 3. And from a very basic anatomy, biomechanical standpoint how do the quadriceps resist rotation? I then listed some other commonly used means of testing strength and ROM issues in the individual athlete that many health professional use and basically reiterated his findings and conclusions to detail what I was asking about(rather then waste Mr. Zigelers time with vague questions that don’t reference his article). So I realize this is not an article for JAMA review. And these days in healthcare/sports medicine the lines are so blurred that I am not really sure who can do what, prescribe what, diagnose and treat what.

    And thank you for your time and reply Mr. Ziegler. I really do not have any desire to validate or invalidate your conclusions based on my questions. Nor was my post even remotely asking about the importance or lack of importance of research-that’s a whole different discussion. And yes, most people involved in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injury do utilize best current evidence(i.e. quality controlled research which I am sorry is not created from professionals simply trying things out in the doctors office and then based off that and recommendations from experts publish that as evidence) You might see that get published in mens health but not in a peer reviewed medical journal. However most of those professionals also complete a detailed individualized assessment of the injury and causative factors(as you stated we are all individuals and slightly different)-i.e. an evaluation which combined with best evidence guides individualized treatment.

    And I am sorry to hear you had a bad experience with a research project at one time, I think anyone would agree with you that it was indeed bad research being conducted by the researcher and that hopefully further research in the area by others would ultimately refute that study’s findings, and I applaud you for pulling out of the study. But this tangent on publishing or not publishing research was again not what I was asking about-only the clarification of your conclusions- but I appreciate the time you took to respond and for the review of what 3-D motion testing is.

    • Ryan thanks for the post. Skin movement is minimal but taken into account.

      Your question regarding the quadriceps is accurate. The quads to not resist rotation. However, the quadriceps are working to extend the knee during squatting, jumping or running. If rotational movements are presented from the pelvis or opposite leg, the leg attempting to extend.must combat those forces. Since the quadriceps do not resist rotation, they must find a way to combat those forces. The rotational forces cause unnecessary stress to the left knee typically causing a reaction at or near the joint, more consistently in the patella tendon or hip of the leg attempting to extend. That is what I believe (based upon his data readings) contributed to Greg’s injury to the left knee.

  25. Pingback: Can the Bulls do anything to work through injuries better? | Chicago Bulls Confidential

  26. ZZ, do you have any thoughts on the Derrick Rose situation? He just tore his ACL. It was his 6th injury this season. And all those injuries were from the lower back down on Rose. Do you believe these injuries, especially the ACL, were related? I assume you haven’t had any personal contact with Rose, but can you give us your opinion from what you do know?

  27. Fascinating article and I’m glad to have come across it from a Mark Titus article in Grantland. In 2000 Grant Hill suffered an injury and left almost immediately via free agency to Orlando. He didn’t quite play basketball for another 6 years, and was never the same again. His explanation of what went wrong with a series of injuries and operations that almost cost him his life, was that his ankle was misaligned all along and that led to all the problems he had faced. I’m seeing parallels between that and the issues you are discussing regarding Greg Oden.

    Now it may be pure luck that the Pistons have not had a major injury for over a decade since Grant Hill was injured, but they do have a team trainer named Arnie Kander whom the Pistons organization and fans swear by. Hill offered to hire Arnie full time to follow him to Orlando which, thankfully for the Pistons, he declined. Arnie seems to have a complete body healing approach to detox the inner body and strengthen joints, muscles and bones with a combination of diet, exercise and vodoo (just kidding) that I can not possibly explain. My question is have you ever had a dialogue with Arnie in regards to your test and his methodology for healing?

    As for the question about Rose, it doesn’t take a doctor to figure out that his injuries were cumulative and he was rushed back into the playoff with his body off kilter. The Bulls were just asking for it letting him play.

    • Yes I was introduced to Arnie a few years ago by NBA Hall of Fame player and EVP Bob Lanier. I don’t know exactly what they are doing in Detroit. Sometimes athletes like Grant bond with people who work with them and develop a trust. That does not necessarily translate into results however. I would enjoy talking with Arnie again and their team docs again anytime.

      Many athletes rush back, but with multi million dollar careers at stake, I believe we will start to see athletes taking more care of their bodies. Thank you for your comments.

  28. Pro athletes, unfortunately, depend on “free: resources of the team. If an owner hires medical staff to make unbias recommendations, and athletes take heed to such advice, than athletes are to blame. Never act on the sole opinion of a doc, especially one lined with funds from an owner. Still, these players made their fortunes and live lives we read about in lavish magazine spreads. They’re doing just fine.~Josh

  29. Zig, very interesting article. I just want to say I appreciate your thoughtful and even tempered responses to the many questions. You credibility improves as you candidly answer questions without attacking others.

  30. Have you worked with NHL players? I realize it would be speculation if you haven’t worked with the athlete, but New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro has spent more time on the trainer’s table than on the ice. One sports writer, in speaking of his repeated injuries, jokingly stated that DiPietro’s bones were made of Triscuits. (In truth, I’m not sure how many of his injuries have been broken bones, but it’s the sort of comment that makes for a good read.) Just wondering if you have any insight. Everytime I hear of an athlete sustaining injury after injury, I alway wonder if there’s an underlying issue with his or her conditioning/training.

  31. Very interesting and insightful read. And it confirms what I’ve always thought: Athletes need to look out for themselves more than trusting the coach or team doctors. The team wants them on the court at all costs and does not look at your well-being all the time. Only you can do that.

  32. I’m very happy to read this. This is the kind of details that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  33. This was very interesting read. Thanks. Kinda devastating to hear that Blazers didn’t care about warnings. And Rockets management think that these tests were too expensive, considering their two best players had several injury issues. Was McGrady and/or Yao still tested? Also, have you ever tested a person who you could say that he hadn’t any issues?

    • Hillow,

      Very good question. Thanks for the comment. No Yao nor McGrady were tested. However, the tests of other players created an interest in Yao and McGrady being tested. It was requested by their athletic trainers but shot down by management. As for your second question, I have tested many healthy individuals who were not experiencing pain or discomfort at the time of their test. However, no one scores 100% on their functional movement screen or any other skills test that I do. PGA golfers score on average 72.5%/100% (golf swing analysis)–Tiger Woods old swing scored over 80% (new swing 73%), The average person has many physical imbalances which cause their body to function poorly. This does not mean that they are experiencing pain on a daily basis right now, however, it does affect their risk of injury.

      I’ve had people say, I’m completely healthy until I point out the little stiffness in their neck, low back, or weaknesses of muscles in their body. We all compensate for weaknesses differently. But athletes are affecting by repetitive motions of their sports. A basketball players who jumps repeatedly off the same leg, a baseball player who swings only right handed, or a kicker who use the same leg to kick on over and over…all are developing imbalances which may not affect them today, but wait until they are done playing and then let’s see. Some of the injuries athletes suffer because of their repetitive motion are no different than those of a receptionist who sits all day (then develops tight hamstrings or a weak lower back) or a computer programmer/data entry person who types all day (then complains of carpal tunnel syndrome).

  34. Pingback: Is Greg Oden finished? - Page 3 - Operation Sports Forums

  35. First of all, thank you the great job you have done and for informing about the state of several athletes bodies. Very very interesting read!

    I have to ask you about my favorite player Vince Carter and if you can give me an assessment on his physical status. I have followed him over the cource of his whole career and watched his incredible athleticism slowly dissapear here in his 30’s, which of cource should be expected since he now is 35. He does not have the 43 inch vert he had 10 years ago.
    His way of running has changed a bit and I think his ability to decelerate has been affected since several of his (patella tendon) injuries these past few years have come from (non contact) landings.
    His upper body allignment looks better than most NBA players to me as his shoulders aren’t protracted nor internally rotated, but I am not an expert (yet) on analyzing movements, so I though you maybe could help me there.


  36. Do you know which NBA teams are using techniques or services similar to yours? I have heard that Phoenix is doing something similar. I am wondering about some of the other teams. Some of the organization seem obviously to be better run, more interested in any advantage they can get within the rules, etc. I read that 10 teams installed a camera system by Synergy, I believe, that measures just about every activity on the floor. Do you know if that system is fine tuned enough to spot biomechanical issues on the court?

    • The Phoenix Suns have hired the founders of a national certification body (NASM). Its the experience of the people working with the Suns however, not the system that gets the results for the Suns. They pay attention to detail as the creator usually does more so than the student. They still use goniometers for joint measurement however, which makes their results similar to any other PTs or ATCs. The system and its results (combined) are difficult to duplicate. Every system has its flaws however, including my own. The focus though should be on striving to work on the individual athletes issues, while improving your system with an open mind. That goes for me and every other professional working with people, services, or products.

  37. Thanks for this insightful column. I have also heard stories about the limits of team physicians and the approach that the team expects them to take with their athletes when compiling information for my book on the Bullets/Washington Wizards.

    I wonder how many teams will consider having their players undergo this kind of testing if they were made aware of the results?

    • Very few teams consider and I currently no longer make my services available to teams but to athlete individually instead. Too much politics at the team level. If an athlete wants to get healthy faster and reduce their risk of injury for the benefit of their career, they call. As for teams… there’s another Derrick Rose, etc. in next year’s draft or available by trade (perception not necessarily reality).

  38. Reblogged this on Sixth & Green and commented:
    What a great post. This is more of a side note to that Grantland asterisk season post. You can’t blame the injuries, but you sure can hold the medical team and trainers for not properly treating their athletes.

    • Thanks for the comment. Interestingly enough, I switched my personal goals to going back to working with the player and sharing the information with them directly. At the end of the day, it’s their body and their career. all the best!

  39. In 2005, I had a partial menisctomy on my right knee. Since then, I’ve only gotten worse. Standing for more than 10 minutes causes pain, if I walk for a while I get swelling, and running and jumping are out of the question. An MRI I had about a year ago revealed no additional damage, but there is no reason why I can’t function with more than half of my meniscus. Any suggestions/ideas/remarks? Thanks.

    • A.S.,

      thanks for the comment. I can’t give you actual advice but I can provide my opinion. In 2005, or prior, some physical act or activity caused you to damage your meniscus. This could have been any number of issues (I would definitely need more info for accuracy of a recommendation). Ligament and meniscus damage occurs when the muscles supporting the joint are overloaded or incapable of functioning properly. This affects the “posture of the bone segments which meet to create a joint. If the posture of one or all bones of the joint is off, then damage is done to the cartilage. If you were to email be photos of the posture of your leg, I might be able to offer some advice just based on the posture of the segments above and below the knee. If you do, p[lease be sure to include your foot in the picture. The bottom line is that something is still off and you have to work to reposition the segments impacting the joint to reduce the stress. All the best to you!

  40. nice piece. a sports team that heed the advice on time and has been on the vanguard on sports medicine and chiropractic is italia’s ac milan. i’ve read extensively about their fabled milanlab, and it is great. i’d love to have access to similar resources myself as an athlete that suffered knee injuries time ago.

  41. Thank you for your work on this topic. As a chiropractor, I also focus on balance, symmetry, and how that results in function/stress on certain areas. All of your results make sense, especially seeing how it all played out 4 years post-testing. I knew from the first surgery that the Blazers medical staff were on a track of multiple surgeries and continued injury>>rehab with Oden. It’s unfortunate, really. Call it luck, call him a bust. But with all things equal, I put a lot of what has happened to both Oden & Roy on the Blazers medical staff. They have been put in a position of thinking they walk on water. I also partially put it on the athlete themselves for not asking questions, seeking other options (ie: conservative options before surgery???), and for blindly letting the Blazers Org lead them down this line.
    In my opinion, most of these catastrophic injuries could have been avoided if given the proper evaluation, testing, rehab, time, and repeated testing, all which you have mentioned.

    Rehab done currently for X surgery is all pretty standardized/protocol now. What is a complete and total failure is the lack of looking at individual characteristics (weaknesses, faults, compensations, etc) on a case-by-case basis.
    ACL tear>>>here’s X, Y, Z rehabilitation for you. Low back strain>>> here’s your low back pain protocol. All pain focused, nothing to look as to the root cause of why the problem happened in the first place. We call it “Sick Care” versus “Health Care”…and one of the reasons for the entire healthcare failure in this country (an entirely different topic).
    As a practitioner that prides himself on individuality of care, it sickens me when physicians and rehab specialists fall into a basic ‘protocol’ route and not look at the whole picture.

    I’m just finding your blog and will be reading archives and your continued posts. I’m definitely interested in this months’ blog (regarding orthotics) that you have mentioned. Looking forward to the discussion of more controversial and relevant topics!

    Thanks again! And keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for your support and comments. I am almost done with the piece but have had to dedicate time to current topics. The orthotics piece will be forthcoming.

  42. Congrats on making this post to freshly pressed! Quite long yet interesting post. Cheers to you! 🙂


  43. Pingback: A Story Suggestion for Henry Abbott | Wrong Again Hen

  44. The Trail Blazers orthopedic doctors are Rebound Orthopedics. I have had those same doctors do surgery on me in 2001. I had my left shoulder replaced, and I still live in chronic pain, and need meds to combat it. Yet, the Dr. will tell me all day how it should be fine, and there should be no pain. I also had a left knee that was giving me alot of pain. I went to one of the “Blazer’s knee Dr.s again, at Rebound Orthopedics. This guy told me my knee looked good, and sent me home!
    I hobbled out, and drove 50 miles to another orthopedic surery center in Longview Wa., for a second opinion. That Dr. said my knee was shot! He said the miniscus was “gone”. He tried Synvisc injections, and it did nothing to ease the pain. He ended up replacing the entire knee, and he was amazed that the other doctor saw no problem with it.
    The doctors that work on the Trail Blazers are quacks, plain and simple. But they love to tell everyone that they do the work for the Blazers. I’ve even spoken to a local hospital nurse that refuses to go to them for anything. They are the only orthopedic center in Vancouver Wa., so they have the market, but many people do like me and drive 50 miles away to get much better doctors.

  45. As an ATC (athletic trainer) who works with a men’s collegiate basketball team, I appreciate reading your findings on these athletes, although it is especially frustrating to hear of the lack of concern by the medical staff working with Odom. It is so important to take the entire athlete into consideration, and to consider the effects of the Entire biomechanical chain on one joint or body part. I actually have an athlete who came to us with noticeable weakness in his R leg (specifically quad and glutes) and who we have been working diligently with to increase strength in these areas, as well as the entire chain. Unfortunately, while playing pick up recently he suffered an acute patellar fracture, so we are now back at square one post-op. Great read, and I look forward to others like this. I will definitely be following you!

  46. good read sir!hopefully this article reaches blazers owner paul allen and maybe the blazers franchise can be saced. The blazers are the NBA’s most tragic team bec all the promising players they acquire always get injured at some point and their stars could never seem to get on the court together. Good work sir!I am studying physical therapy myself and this is an interesting read.

  47. HI there

    I’m an NBA fan from Australia and found your post fascinating and I’m astounded by the Portland medical’s staff treatment of your results. I have trained as a physiotherapist and when I stumbled over Brandon’s knee rehab videos a few months ago, they match exactly what you talk about in your post – terribly poor biomechanics, potential for further hip, knee, ankle injury, excessive loading with improper base strength. And it’s all under the supervision of what should be the best trained and equipped medical staff.

    i do believe Roy can be salvaged too. Maybe not to return to the NBA, but just for normal health and daily less painful life

  48. im surprised u removed the link in my comment – did it violate some commenting rule? or do u edit all the comments on this page?

    • Links are removed or disabled which may be considered promotional or advertising. While your link clearly added some value it was also promotional as the author clearly made a pitch for their services. Otherwise it was a great post. I hope you understand. I welcome open debate but have to remove ads or promotional links. Yours is not the only one edited. And I’m sure we’ve missed a couple of buried links but if found they are removed also. thanks again for understanding.

      • Question on microfracture surgeries.. which would you do?

        I had foot surgery and I am a runner and was in a cast and had over use and diagnosis of patella tendonitis ran thru it and now have I have a defect/lesion in my smooth gliding cartilage like “Greg Odom the basketball player my Dr said” My knee is swelled up because there are fragments floating around in my knee that need to be removed.

        There are three options #1 most conservative but he said NO fix is a for sure fix

        1. Scope, smooth lesion and clean out fragments plus I will need orthovisk injections after surgery several injections to hopefully repair the area.-Knee Arthroscopy

        2. Poke a hole in the bone and inject with stuff to hopefully repair –Occult trabecular micro fracture

        3. Take a piece of smooth gliding cartliage from elsewhere to repair the smooth gliding area and make 1 hole and plug it in the area where its missing.-Osteochondral lesions

      • Hi JJ

        Thanks for your questions. Unfortunately, I cannot provide a professional opinion on which “type” of surgery you should undergo. Option #1 is the most conservative and from a personal standpoint would be the one I would choose for myself. However, after undergoing years of steroid and Orthovisc injections and treating athletes who were treated with them I would not recommend injections of any type over an extended period of time (1-2 injections to help kickstart your recovery but that’s it). PRP or stem cell injections to help with tissue repair would be my own personal choice.

        Please keep in mind that only your surgeon knows what’s really going on inside of your knee. I can say this… if you have damage (floating particles) that needs to be repaired or can be repaired, I would suggest you take advantage of it sooner rather than later. The longer you delay the more damage could possible occur.

        The key to your return to running is not in the surgery, it’s in the rehab. I’d be more focused on asking questions of your physical therapist that your surgeon. It appears your injuries are related to some sort of biomechanics deficiency. Was your overuse injury on the same leg as your cast or the opposite? Did you rehab your foot after the cast was removed or did you just go back to walking and then running? This is the key to your compensation injuries. If rehab was not prescribed, I am 100% positive it would have contributed to your injuries. In addition, you must have biomechanics deficiencies that caused the original need for foot surgery. Regardless of whether it was bunion, plantar fascia, or bone repair, there was a reason the surgery was needed in the first place and may not have been addressed.

        Did you ever perform any exercises to increase your muscle strength in the area affected by the cast and surgery? Ankles, feet (toes and arches), quadriceps, hips or hamstrings? Your rehab would have required strength and flexibility training to the side on which you wore the cast. And it would have required flexibility training on the non-casted side to help prevent overuse patterns on that side depending upon how long you were in a cast.

        The casted leg would have needed strength to the entire lower leg to prevent the quadriceps muscles from overcompensating to make up for lower leg deficiencies. In addition, your hamstrings would have been significantly affected on the casted side as well. They could have shut down, contributing to overuse symptoms in the knee. But the bottom line is that your rehab and rehab type exercises (long term) are the key to a long term recovery.

        Its a long answer to your question, but I hope it was helpful. Best wishes to you!


  49. Your assesment is only the tip of the iceberg in how the Blazer players, fans, and organization are being held hostage to the egos of the Blazer training staff. To be given a top tier college player and reduce him to worthless rubble in the short time he was “trained”, would be grounds for charging them with torture.

    Getting Oden was the kid in the candystore syndrome. While having supposed firm credentials as trainers, the training staff proceeded to prove that the teams prior successes were the result of good players, rather than great training. Thinking they could make him a supposedly “better” player with their training quackery.

    And the team’s results with Oden for quick career termination skills, and the longterm abuse to Roy, Alridge, as well as anyone else in the team’s future who can count on a Titanic short cruise for a career at the hands of the team’s abusers.

    Given the training staff is in full denial that those who are causing the problems are given responsibility to deal with the issues. It is the true skill in leadership that anyone needing advice makes a concerned effort to find it and facilitate solutions, rather than sitting on egos too big to allow the needs of the team supercede their fallacy in halucination.

    If the training staff were truly looking after the interest of the players, they’d have resigned already on their own accord, rather than continue their path of athletic butchery with no remorse to their own ignorance.

  50. I am really looking forward to hear more about your brakedown of Brandon Roy’s condition. I (think) that I share quite similar injury history in terms of (probably) taring a meniscus and coming back too early from it, winding up reinjuring it and starting to lack articular cartilage as a result of continues overloading of the joint. That is my own estimation due do the symptoms I have.

    All my rehabs have failed and many doctors have given me different diagnosis (from ACL partial tare to patella tendinosis and infrapatellar bursitis) and advises. My doctor wouldn’t allow me to get MRI, cause he thought I was okay, but after 2 years away from basketball and a ton of rehab and doing my best to take proper care of it, I tried to play volleyball a bit and then the pain and discomford came back again. Now my knee feels as bad as it did a year ago. Really frustrating when so called experts just assume things about your body instead of making sure what the “cause” of the pain is by looking into the joint.

  51. Pingback: Incompetent Blazers medical staff ruining careers - NFL,NBA,MLB Forum & Message Board

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  53. I appreciate, cause I discovered just what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  54. As a manager of several physical therapy locations in a large metropolitan area, I can tell you that I manage therapists of a wide variety of skill level. While all have talents in different areas, it takes a very special person with very special skills to appropriately rehab an athlete back to full performance AND be able to correct the problem that caused the injury in the first place. Out of my entire staff, I have one. One therapist that I believe…no, I know, just “gets it”. To really see the functional deficits that led to the injury and pick up on the nuances that make all the difference between near perfect rehab or just average, it takes someone who “gets it” and that is a rarity. I believe that that the ego of the training community, regardless of number of initials following your name, keeps many of the athletes from getting what they really need. It is sad that so many athletes are not able to get the proper rehab because training staff is unwilling to look beyond “what has always been done” or be willing to send their athletes out fo additional evaluation when they know, deep down, that what they are doing isn’t getting the job done.

    Send ’em my way…I have an excellent therapist who could run circles around those trainers 🙂

    • Thank you for your openness and honesty. Unfortunately less than 1% of the profession “gets it”. There is no room in the business for ego. Unfortunately, the business is full of it.

      In no way, do I believe I have the only solution. A team is needed to give the patient the best possible outcome…”recovery”. Feel free to send me a private email for discussion of your program and potential referrals to you. Have a positive day!

  55. Pingback: Breaking Down What to Expect from Brandon Roy’s Return to the NBA | :: Sparxxrx LLC ::

  56. Hi I dislocated my kneecap during football did conservative treatmet was in a immobilizer for 2 and a half weeks and war a knee brace and didn’t dob any rough activities just walked.I was out for 11and a half weeks came back to basketball and was totally 100 percent I was fine in practice then in my 1st game dislocated it again now 1 doctor say i need reconstructive bone surgery another one says lateral release and another one says mpfl surgery I’m 13years old and was wondering your opinion because obviousily you were right in predicting brandon roys greg odens injuries Iwas wondering if there was any place near cleveland ohio where. Could have that biomechanics test thank you so much I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me

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  58. Hey.
    I live in Australia so it’s abit difficult to come see you and book an appointment. I don’t know if you will get this but here it goes anyway. I play a lot of basketball 6-7 nights a week ever since I was about 15, I am now 21. I always thought I had a short leg for while but when I brought it up to different doctors, physios, podiatrists, chiros and osteos it was just dismissed saying that if so my body will just compensate. Then when i was 17-18 i stopped riding my bike everywhere because I got my car license (but continued playing the same amount of basketball) I tore my right patella (short leg)and I noticed that my right leg was abit weaker. I did rehab and it sorta got better it still hurts but I’ve learnt to deal with it. About 6 months ago I started getting SI joint pain on my right side and I did all the rehab work until now and it wont get better, so I looked up what causes SI joint pain and it came up with leg length discrepancy, so I went and saw a bunch of different doctors and they all roughly measured my legs with there hands but said to not worry about it. But this time I insisted to get it properly measured with a CT scan and came back with my right leg is 7.3 millimetres shorter then my left leg (roughly 3.5 mil on both my tibia and femur). So i went and saw my podiatrist to get a heel lift and he said just continue wearing the orthotics (custom orthotics he made for my feet 3 years ago), you’re body will compensate you’re fine. But I wanted to continue playing basketball and it was really hurting, so I just made a heel lift with some gel pads approx 4 mm in height but I think it compresses abit to 3 mm and I feel better and my SI joint is not hurting as much. I’ve also been told that I have mild scoliosis, I think it’s related because my right hip looks like its slightly forward maybe because of my right leg being shorter.
    My questions are
    Do I need a heel lift ?
    If so, does it need to be 7.3 mm exactly ?
    Do I need a shoe lift?
    If so, how can I get one ?
    Should I start riding a bike again and build up more strength ?
    Is there anyway to correct my hips/mild scoliosis (exercises or stretches maybe ) ?


    • Hello Rick,

      A heel lift shits the stress to the anterior (front) of your knee increasing the amount of anterior/posterior shear. This increases the risk of knee instability and meniscus damage. Actual length discrepancies are rare. If a CT scan show the length difference, I’d be interested in seeing the rotational differences. Rotation may cause one leg to appear shorter if length is the only variable considered. Your description of other factors (hip, patella, scoliosis, etc) lead me to believe you should have someone look for leg rotational issues. Your should seek a more expert biomechanical analysis to determine the movement characteristics of your legs. That will help you determine the true impact of your leg length or rotational issues.

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