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Guest Article: A Brief History of Raef's Knee

The following analysis was researched and written by Justin Poulin:

Concerned about Raef Lafrentz’ knee? Here’s a comparison to Anthony McDyess who had played sparingly since undergoing multiple knee surgeries up until a good string of games at the end of last season.

McDyess originally had a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee and then he also had surgery on his right knee to to clean out loose bodies (minor). Then he had a third knee surgery and this report, "A leading New York orthopedic surgeon said yesterday that Antonio McDyess faces a ‘tough road’ back from a third knee surgery in 19 months and that there is no guarantee that the Knicks power forward will ever play again. ‘If it heals he probably could play,’ said Dr. Steven Haas. ‘But what you have to remember is that you have a recurrent injury, recurrent surgery and a high stress area of the body. This will be a chronic problem.’ Last October, Scott performed surgery on McDyess to repair a fractured patella. McDyess missed the entire 2002-03 season. One year earlier, McDyess needed surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his left knee. The tendon hooks into the kneecap and can theoretically jeopardize the integrity of the knee. "

Source: NY Daily News

Raef recently underwent only his second knee surgery and the first was back in ’99 after his first season with the Denver Nuggets. Ironically, McDyess was a teammate of Raef’s at the time. "It will help to have Raef back,’ said forward Antonio McDyess. ‘Teams have to respect his shooting and that will open things up for me."

Source: ESPN

Mark Blount has to be thinking the same thing and until Al Jefferson is ready to go, Raef will have to carry the bulk of the load on his knees. Raef had surgery for tendinitis most recently and the prior surgery was for an ACL injury. While an ACL tear is one of the most devastating knee injuries, it was 5 yrs ago and he has completely recovered from that injury. Dr. Issel who performed Raef’s first surgery said, "I think he will be all right and in fact, physically, his knee is better than it was before he tore his ACL"

Raef recently had this to say about his recent surgery, ""The pain is still there, but I'm not as worried about it because the strength is there," said LaFrentz. "I've got a much stronger leg now. I'm more confident moving on it. I'm still trying to get pain-free, but that might be a couple-year process. But at least I have a strong leg."

Source: Boston Globe

It was difficult to find a source indicating exactly what surgery Raef recently went through, but one could assume that it might be related to the following condition. "One of the most common injuries in athletes is "jumper's knee" or patellar tendinitis. This injury is especially common in sports such as basketball, volleyball, football, soccer, and track and field, where jumping is frequent..It is a minimally invasive procedure that when performed in the right patients and followed by appropriate rehabilitation, has a high chance of returning them to active sports in a reasonable time"

Source: WebMD.com

There is no way to tell how Raef will do this season and we won’t know until he plays. For fans who find this earily similar to Tony Battie’s lingering knee issues over the past two season, it should be noted that Battie did play 73 games and averaged around 20min/game last season with the Celtics and Cavaliers. Battie’s surgery in 2003 was to repair torn cartliage suffered in a contact injury that caused bruising. And one other thing, newest Celtic Tom Gugliotta, had total reconstructive knee surgery in 2000 to repair just about every ligament in that knee. He hasn’t been the same player since, but put together a string of games at the end of last season with Utah that looked promissing, albeit 4 years after his surgery. Fortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that Raef’s recent knee surgery was nearly as severe as Gugliotta’s or McDyess’ surgeries. That may be good news, but Battie’s surgery was far less severe and we all know how frustrating the road back was for him.

Editor's note: All this is well and good, but something tells me that the season hangs on the efforts of select (but growing) few that urge us all to "Rock the Raef Avatar." Let the love spread to all the message boards! Their "Rock the Vin Avatar" campaign actually got Vin off the sauce for a few precious months. What can it do for Raef's knee?