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An Expert Tells Us About KG’s Knee

Celtics Hub did a great job tracking down an orthopedic surgeon to help explain what is going on with Kevin Garnett's knee.

Here are some highlights:

Celtics Hub: There’s a feeling out there that “posterior muscle strain” is not a real injury, but just something that sports teams say to placate the media until they want to release the real information. So: Is this a real injury? And what exactly is it? 

Dr. Rose: Yes, it’s a real injury. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, but a strain is a muscle or tendon injury. You can strain an achilles tendon, for instance, but you can’t sprain it. 

Now, saying it’s a muscle strain in the back of the knee is a little vague. There are a lot of muscles that run behind the knee. There’s the hamstring muscle, for instance, but the far more common injury is a strain of the calf muscle–which starts above the knee and runs to the achilles tendon. About 95 percent of the time, the strain will be in the part of the calf muscle that runs along the inside of the leg–the gastrocnemius.

CH: The team is saying KG will be back in two or three weeks. Is that a reasonable recovery time? 

DR: It really depends on how badly it’s injured. A very mild strain takes two or three weeks to heal. If it’s a moderate strain, it could be four weeks, and if it’s severe, it could take up to six weeks. 

If you come back too soon, you run the risk of aggravating the injury and starting from ground zero.

CH: And with rest, is this something you can come back from and be 100 percent, or does it always linger?

DR: Absolutely, he can come back 100 percent. There are some muscle strains that linger a long, long time, but those usually involve the hamstring–and usually the portion that is up higher in the thigh, not behind the knee. They say you never get cured of a hamstring injury. But for calf strains behind the knee–those have the potential for a full recovery.

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