Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut was clearly in pain, walking slightly bent at the waist with his right hand lightly clutching his lower abdomen. Word came from the Warriors that contact with Marc Gasol led to a “pelvic contusion,” and Bogut would not return to tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Pelvic contusion” isn’t something I’ve heard in a sporting context all that often, so I did a little research (emphasis on “little”) to see how long Bogut could be out.
The good news: if the injury is just a pelvic contusion and nothing further (like a fracture), Bogut should probably be back in time for the playoffs, if not sooner … provided the Warriors make the postseason, of course.
1. Not all that optimistic
First, it would appear that this injury is often called a “hip pointer.”
What is a hip pointer?
A hip pointer is a contusion, or bruise, of the iliac crest, the bone along the brim of the pelvis, and its surrounding structures. Other effected structures may include the tensor fascia lata, the external oblique muscle and the greater trochanter of the femur. In severe cases a hematoma, a collection of blood, may form and cause a palpable fluctuant mass beneath the skin. Hip pointers are usually the result of a direct blow to the pelvic brim, often in contact sports like football or ice hockey, or after a fall directly onto the hip.
What is the prognosis of a hip pointer in an athlete?
Return to play ranges based on the severity of injury, and treatment modalities used. With conservative treatment and physical therapy, on average one can expect full recovery within two to four weeks. An injured athlete may return to play once full range of motion and strength have returned.
Two weeks would put Bogut back in the lineup on April 11 against the Lakers. Three weeks? Game 1 of the first round. Four weeks? The Warriors would probably be in deep, deep trouble if Bogut misses that much time.
2. A little more optimistic
The American Hip Institute did an investigation on these sorts of injuries, and they picked the perfect set of subjects for the purposes of what we’re doing here.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present “Epidemiology of Hip Injuries in the National Basketball Association —
A 24-Year Overview”
Results: There were 2852 cases (14.6% of all athletic-related injuries) involving 967 individual players. In 1746 (61.2%) cases, injuries occurred during game competition. Across the course of this study, clinical incidence of injury to the pelvis, hip, or thigh was 1.50 per 100 players. The mean (±standard deviation) number of days missed per case was 6.3 ± 10.2.
That’s less than two weeks, which sounds better. However, this study included data on all sorts of injuries, including hamstring and quad strains. Until we know the severity of Bogut’s injury, it’s tough to assume how quickly the big man may heal. But let’s take one more trip on the Google train.
3. Really optimistic
The most relevant (and graphic) case study I found came from Spurs Nation (12/18/10):
Spurs backup forward Tiago Splitter is expected to play tonight after missing a game after sustaining a right pelvic contusion earlier in the week.
Splitter missed the game in Denver but should be ready for the Spurs game against Memphis, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
“I think he is. They cleared him to go,” Popovich said. “I don’t think he’ll be 100 percent to play but he’s O.K. to play. He’s probably going out of his mind not playing.”
Splitter showed his bruise in the right thigh area to several reporters before the game. The purplish bruise almost was enough to make them skip their pre-game meal.
Based on what we’ve learned tonight, if Bogut has a contusion and nothing more, he could miss anywhere from a couple days to an entire month. We’ll see if the Warriors provide any X-Ray results after the game; here’s hoping Bogut doesn’t decide to show us any Splitter-like bruises.