CHICAGO — NBA players who return to sport after Achilles tendon ruptures have decreased playing time and performance, according to study results presented here at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting.
“You can have a successful surgical repair with the result being that you return to the NBA, but you do not return to your preinjury levels,” Rohit Garg, MD, said.
Researchers collected data between 1992 and 2012 of players’ NBA summaries, injury reports and player profiles. They tracked patient age, body mass index, position, years played for the NBA and games missed. They also obtained season statistics for each player and assessed NBA player efficiency ratings (PERs) for 2 seasons before and after injury. They used the Wilcoxon signed rank test to compare PER and minutes per game (MPG) before or after injury and the Mann Whitney U test to compare players with matched controls. Average patient age was 29.7 years, average BMI was 25.6 and average years playing in the NBA was 7.4 years.
Of the 18 players, 11 players returned to play and 8 players played two seasons or more. The seven players who returned to play missed 55.9 games on average. The patients’ MPG decreased 5.21 in the first season and 4.28 in the second season and PER decreased to 4.64 in the first season and 4.28 in the second season. Both MPG and PER decreased significantly in the first season compared to matched controls, but there was no difference between groups in the second season.
“A total of 38.9% of players never returned to play,” Garg said in the study abstract.
Garg R. Paper #735. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 18-23, 2013; Chicago.
Disclosure: Garg has no relevant financial disclosures.