The word out of Knicks camp is that Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks prized first round draft pick and 4th overall selection in the 2015 NBA draft, may not be ready for the start of the summer league games.  It has been reported that the 6’11 stretch forward has been suffering  “hip tightness.”  Supposedly, the injury occurred sometime leading up to his pre-draft workout in Las Vegas. Very little has been revealed as to the extent of his injury, which limits how much is known about the severity of the injury and how long it will take before he can return to play.  This is not good news for the beleaguered Knicks who are trying to rebound from an abysmal 17 win season.

The majority of sports related hip injuries are the result of what is known as a “hip flexor strain”.   With this type of injury, the athlete hyperextends the hip or pushes off too hard while sprinting, resulting in a small tear in the iliopsoas muscle (the muscle that allows the athlete to flex his hip) or the hip adductor muscle (the dreaded “groin pull”).  Most of the time the athlete is able to return to sports in a couple of weeks and there should not be any lingering affects of the injury.  Which is what most Knicks fans hope is the case with Porzingis.

There are a number of other causes of hip tightness and pain in and around the hip.  A more significant injury in the hip, which is not uncommon in professional athletes, is known as the “sports hip triad”. With this injury, the athlete has a tear of the labrum, which is the rim of cartilage around the hip socket, a strain of the adductor muscle (the large muscle in the groin), and a tear of the abdominal muscles.  This triad of injuries is similar to that suffered by baseball player Alex Rodriguez and can require surgery, a more extensive rehab program after surgery, and a prolonged time before being able to return to play, ranging anywhere from three months up to one year.

Hopefully, more information will be available in the coming days about the Porzingis injury, but a cautious approach with a gradual and regimented rehab program seems appropriate.

Dr. Richard McCormack, an orthopedic surgeon at  Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, has a wealth of experience working with athletes with similar injuries of the hip.  Dr. McCormack’s advanced Sports Medicine training allows him to  provide nonoperative rehabilitation of sports injuries as well as operative interventions such as hip arthroscopy and labral repair when necessary.