Return to Sport and Performance After Microfracture in Knees of NBA Players

KneeMicrofractureHypotheses: (1) There would be a high rate of return to sport (RTS) in NBA players following microfracture, (2) players would RTS the season following surgery, (3) preoperative player performance would not be significantly different on RTS, and (4) there would be no significant difference in RTS rate or postoperative performance in players undergoing microfracture in comparison with an age-, position-, NBA experience–, and performance-matched control group.

Results: A total of 41 NBA players underwent microfracture and were compared with 41 demographic- and performance-matched controls. Rate of RTS after microfracture was 73% in the NBA and 83% in professional basketball (NBA, D-league, and International Basketball Federation [FIBA]). Time to RTS in NBA was 9.20 ± 4.88 months. Seventy-one percent (29/41) of players RTS the season following microfracture. Length of NBA career following microfracture (4.10 ± 3.91 years) was not significantly different from controls. After microfracture, case athletes played fewer games per season and with fewer points and steals per game (relative to premicrofracture; P < .05). Performance was better in control (after index year) versus case players (after microfracture) with regard to points per game, games played per season, and field goal and free throw percentage (P < .05).

Conclusion: Eighty-three percent of NBA players undergoing microfracture returned to professional basketball. Career length was not significantly different between players undergoing microfracture and controls. However, following microfracture, players competed in fewer games per season with fewer points and steals. [more…]

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