This past Sunday, San Antonio Spurs’ guard Danny Green went out early in the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves following an injury to his left hand. Green and was initially believed to have suffered a sprain (an injury to a ligament) in his left hand, but subsequent X-rays and MRI testing revealed a non-displaced fracture of the 2nd (index) metacarpal bone.
The key word here is non-displaced, which indicates that the pieces of the broken bone are still aligned. The good news is that a non-displaced fracture of the metacarpal requires no surgery to reset the bone and can usually be treated with a cast. Patients with this type of injury will most likely require a radial gutter waterproof cast, which immobilizes the fracture site and allows for proper healing to take place. This is bad news for Spurs fans as it will probably leave Green sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks. However, it could have been worse. Had Green suffered a displaced fracture, wherein the pieces of the broken bone are no longer aligned, surgical intervention with reduction and pinning, followed by 4-6 weeks in a radial gutter cast, would likely have been required.
While immobilized, the Spurs’ guard will probably be able to participate in non-contact drills and he will hopefully be back on the court within the next month. Continuing to play without immobilization of this type of fracture would be a mistake as it could lead to displacement and the need for surgical intervention. Get well soon, Mr. Green!
Dr. Paul D. Pace is a board certified surgeon with The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. He is fellowship trained in hand and microvascular surgery and treats conditions of the hand and wrist for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Pace, please call 210.281.9595 or schedule online.