I hope you have time. Because reading the list of injuries Chris Paul has had since entering the NBA will take a while, the most recent injury coming at the most inopportune time. During the final minute of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors, Paul grabbed his right inner hamstring after spinning and pushing off his left leg. The injury seems to have come off the spin versus the push off. Before analyzing the injury, it is important to have some context of some of the issues he has had to deal with in his NBA career:
- 2006: Right ankle sprain
- 2009: Strained right groin/hamstring
- 2010: Left knee cartilage tear with meniscus debridement
- 2011: concussion and neck injury
- 2012: right hip flexor strain
- 2013: right knee bruise
- 2014: Right shoulder Grade 3 AC separation
- 2014: Right hamstring strain
- 2015: Left hamstring injury
- 2015: Left ankle injury
- 2016: right hand fracture
- 2017: Left knee injury with swelling
- 2017: Hip Adductor strain
- 2017: Left knee bone bruise
- The most interesting injuries occurred recently with left calf discomfort and right foot pain leading up to current hamstring injury (but that is a topic for another article about the dangers of playing injured).
Tale of the Tape:
While watching Chris Paul, there are many things to point out. But I'd like to focus on the one thing that seems to be an underlying factor for most of his injuries. Watching some of his many videos, performing insanely difficult dribbling, coordination and agility drills, I got to see why he is considered one of the top point guards in the NBA. His skill level is almost unmatched. He trains ferociously. The one thing he doesn't have is core stability, more specifically, excessive pelvic movement. And while that might be the goal of a Latin dancer, that is the worst thing for an athlete that has to perform quick changes of direction, sprinting multi-directionally and stopping at the drop of a dime. The current injury is another manifestation of that lack of stability. The hamstrings are powerful movers of the body. But they need to work off a stable base. If the base isn't stable, the hamstrings have to do two jobs, one of which it isn't meant to do. Hence the above injury. If you notice, he has had multiple hip muscle strains (e.g. hip flexor, hamstring, hip adductor).
Synopsis: Assuming this is just a grade 1 hamstring strain, he should bounce back relatively quickly and might even make it back for Game 7. Some of that depends on Chris's willingness to risk further injury in hopes to finally win a title. But moving into the twilight of his career, the injuries will get more frequent and come on sooner as the effects of aging and wear and tear manifest itself more clearly. The way he trains, he can stave off some injuries, but unless he makes the most needed correction to his core, I see more and more days off in the future.
The Injury Analyst is a blog dedicated to not only explaining injuries that have occurred, but predicting and highlighting future injury risks for professional athletes. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: I have not seen the subject of this article personally in clinic, rather all views and opinions of the author have been made based off of video footage of the athlete. This article is not meant as a diagnosis or a treatment plan.