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Performance Outcomes After Metacarpal Fractures in National Basketball Association Players
Michael S. Guss, MD; John P. Begly, MD; Austin J. Ramme, MD; Richard M. Hinds, MD; Raj J. Karia, MPH; John T. Capo, MD
New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY

Introduction: To determine if players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who sustain metacarpal fractures demonstrate decreased performance upon return to competition when compared with their performance before injury and that of their control-matched peers.

Methods: Data for 32 NBA players with metacarpal fractures incurred over 11 seasons (2002-2003 to 2012-2013) were obtained from injury reports, press releases, and player profiles (www.nba.com and www.basketballreference.com). Player age, body mass index (BMI), position, shooting hand, number of years in the league, and treatment (surgical vs non-surgical) were recorded. Individual season statistics for the two seasons immediately prior to injury and the two seasons after injury, including player efficiency rating (PER), were obtained. Thirty-two controls were identified, matched by player position, age, and performance statistics.

Results: Mean age at the time of injury was 27.3 years with an average player BMI of 24. 37 Players had a mean 5.63 seasons of NBA experience prior to injury. There was no significant change in PER when pre-injury and post-injury performance was compared. Neither injury to their shooting hand nor operative management of the fracture led to a decrease in performance during the two seasons after injury. When compared with matched-controls, no significant decline in performance in PER the first season and second season after injury was found.

Conclusion: NBA players sustaining metacarpal fractures can reasonably expect to return to their pre-injury performance levels following appropriate treatment.

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