Russell Westbrook Meniscus Surgery: Teams Putting Their Players At Risk With Old School Techniques

December 27, 2013
Russell Westbrook is out til after the 2014 All Star GamePhoto courtesy of Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Russell Westbrook is out til after the 2014 All Star Game
Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Following his third surgery this year, Russell Westbrook’s right knee has already had a lifetime’s worth of abuse under the knife. After injuring the meniscus when Patrick Beverley hit the knee going for a steal, the first arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn meniscus was thought to be successful, until a loose stitch set him back just before the start of the season.
On Friday, December 27, after suffering from swelling in the knee, he underwent yet another surgery to repair unforseen damage.

Oklahoma City issued a press release that read:

Russell has been playing pain free, but recently had experienced increased swelling. After consultation and consideration by his surgeon in Los Angeles, a plan was established to monitor the swelling that included a series of scheduled MRIs,” said Presti. “On the most recent MRI it was determined by the surgeon that there was an area of concern that had not previously existed, nor was detectable in the previous procedures, and it was necessary to evaluate Russell further. The consulting physician determined that arthroscopic surgery was necessary to address the swelling that was taking place. We know that Russell’s work ethic and commitment will help him return to the level of play that we have all come to appreciate.”
Westbrook is expected to return post All-Star break.

Where the problem really lies is in the type of surgery he had. As outlined above by Dr. Justin Saliman, there are two techniques most commonly used to repair the meniscus: complete removal or rudimentary repair. What Dr. Saliman offers is a brand new technique, one that logically benefits the patient infinitely more than the older techniques that professional athletes have submitted themselves to in the past. With a revolutionary device Dr. Saliman invented, he can now stitch together the meniscus into one complete, healthy piece of cartilage that allows an athlete a complete recovery. Removing the meniscus has proven to be devastating to pro athletes, and repairing it without Dr. Saliman’s invention can lead to the type of issues we now see with Russell Westbrook.

In the video below, Dr. Saliman outlines the technique in detail and makes a compelling case for why his invention should be standard treatment for a torn meniscus. While this technique is still new, by not using it, teams are potentially putting their high priced assets at greater risk with old school techniques that don’t properly and/or fully heal the injury.

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Coach Nick is the founder of BballBreakdown and a former high school varsity basketball coach. Follow Coach Nick on Twitter, @BballSource.

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