Analysis: Understanding Blake Griffin’s Foot Injury

Blake Griffin’s foot injury progressed from the initial announcement of a “bruised big toe” to a “plantar plate injury” and recently new details about the LA Clippers’ players’ injury have emerged.

When Blake Griffin injured his foot in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Playoff’s First Round and was ruled out for the rest of the postseason with a “bruised big toe,” critics and fans took to social media to make fun of and belittle the LA Clippers’ star for being out with such a lame and delicate sounding injury. The injury was upgraded to a “plantar plate injury of his right big toe” within the next few days and his detractors backed off, understanding that the injury was much more serious than once thought.

On May 1st, the LA Clippers announced that Blake had undergone a successful surgery by nationally recognized foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson to repair the injured plantar plate. Griffin’s recovery from the surgery will likely have a significant impact on the way the Clippers’ 2017-2018 season starts off.

Griffin recently made a guest appearance on the Pardon My Take podcast and his toe/foot injury was brought up. Here’s a short clip of the podcast’s hosts and Griffin discussing the injury, the important stuff starts around 40 seconds.

Griffin reveals that the original “bruised big toe” injury was a misdiagnosis and that the power forward actually ended up tearing tendons and ligaments in his foot.

“And so after getting all my tests and stuff, I ended up tearing tendons and ligaments in the bottom of my foot.”

So what exactly did Griffin tear?

The ligament that Griffin tore would be the “plantar plate injury” that was announced since the plantar plate is the primary ligament that connects your toes to your foot. The particular plate that Griffin tore would be the hallux plate, which is just the scientific term for the plate of your big toe. Since the plate is one of the structures of the foot that supports our body weight, it is vital to the “jumping” process and is usually under a lot of stress during athletic activities.

The tendon that Griffin would have torn is a bit harder to figure out since there are over 100 muscles (ligaments and tendons) that make up your foot. It would make the most sense if the tendon or tendons that were torn in addition to the plantar plate were the flexor tendons that work with alongside the ligament to provide stability in the foot. The particular tendon that Griffin would have torn would be the Flexor hallucis longus tendon. The Flexor hallucis longus is the tendon that bends or flexes the big toe and is a common injury for ballerinas specifically since they spend a lot of time pointed on their big toes.

Griffin’s Timetable to Return:

There have been two extremely conflicting reports regarding Griffin’s recovery in the past week from two different ESPN writers. ESPN’s Michael Eaves reported that sources told him that Griffin may not be ready for the start of the season and that the power forward could be out until December recovering from the surgery. However, his colleague Ramona Shelburne reported that a source had told her that the Clips expect Griffin to be ready to go for the start of the season.

Eaves recently posted a report on Facebook talking about Chris Paul’s departure from the Clippers and stating that Paul despised Doc for refusing to pull the trigger on a trade proposed to LA by the Knicks that revolved around Carmelo Anthony and Austin Rivers. But Doc Rivers denied that Paul’s departure was because of anyone on the roster and that there was never a proposed trade that he declined between the two teams, hinting that Eave’s report was a bunch of malarkey.

With this being said, it’s probably best to take Eavs’ report with a grain of salt and just go with Shelburne’s until more details about Blake’s recovery are released. The question remains, are we going to see another step backward in Blake Griffin’s athleticism or will he remain one of the league’s high flyers?

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