Following up on a prior post (The Unspoken Truth), we now have more information. As reported in the Herald (3/23/10), Paul Pierce has spoken up about the subject, describing having his knee drained on the "day after" the All Star game. That would have to be Monday, Feb 15. Paul played the next day, on Feb 16 vs. the Kings.
Paul also said: "Yeah, I was a little stubborn, since in the past I was able to play through it, and it really affected my play." => Here he appears to be saying that in the past, he's played with a balky knee, including after knee drainage procedures, and was able to perform normally.
"It was a combination of everything. My knee, after the All-Star break I got it drained, and it took me a few weeks to get the strength back in that. Then I sprained my thumb. It was the little things that were happening to me."
This explains several open questions, and creates some new ones - including one big one.- We can be clearer now about what caused that serious knee infection back in December. It seems that Paul is having his knee drained on some regular schedule, and that the drainage he had prior to the December infection caused that infection (as we suspected). Note: A knee drainage is no big deal in most cases – you typically only need to rest about 24 hours after one. And in fact, we see that Paul did wait only one day between the Feb 15 drainage and the Feb 16 game in Sacramento.
- But why did he say that "it took me a few weeks to get the strength back in that" knee, after the Feb 15 drainage procedure? Remember, he played the very next day, which appears to be his normal historical pattern. We must conclude that it was NOT the Feb 15 drainage that directly made his knee/leg weak. It appears that the problems Paul had in the weeks following the ASG – the apparent weakness, and "no lift" issues – were all part of the knee problems dating back to the December infection, compounded by the thumb injury, and if memory serves, a minor foot issue.
And the Feb 15 knee drainage was probably NOT part of any routine drainage schedule, but was made necessary by the therapeutic process related to the knee infection.
- The knee infection issue is the glue in Paul’s statements, which can be made much clearer if rephrased: It took me a lot longer to get over that knee infection than I expected. I even had to get my knee drained after the All-Star break as part of the treatment for it. It was quite a while before I got my full strength back, and I shouldn’t have come back as early as I did.
Many in the time just prior to the AS break were suggesting that Paul might not be ready to play yet, and should perhaps sit out the ASG. That, it appears now, was a very good idea. This is what Paul is referring to when he says he came back too soon.
The remaining questions:
- What is wrong with Paul’s knee that it needs to be drained from time to time? (Probably a chronic condition like arthritis or some other inflammatory process in the knee.)
- How often does Paul need his knee drained?
...And, by far, the biggest one:
- Will Paul’s knee stay healthy until after the playoffs? My guess is no one knows. It’s all part of the mostly unpredictable health-luck factor that helps determine championships.
UPDATE: The Providence Journal now reports that Paul disclosed that he had knee procedures done on Dec 22 and Dec 25. This fits perfectly with our understanding. The Dec 22 procedure caused the knee infection, which necessitated the drainage procedure on the Dec 25, and presumably, the follow-up drainage on Feb 15, the day after the All Star game.
No answer is given regarding why Paul needed the Dec 22 procedure in the first place. Whatever it was could well still be there.