Thursday, February 12, 2009
While Jim Calhoun's statement regarding Jerome Dyson's torn lateral meniscus injury (“I know that he will work hard in the offseason and be back next year as a major contributor to our future success") would seem to indicate otherwise, there's a chance (however small) that Dyson could return to UConn's lineup this season.
Recovery from this injury can range anywhere from a week to four months, depending on the size, severity and location of the tear -- much of which can't totally be determined by an MRI.
According to Dr. Michael Joyce, an orthopedic sports specialist based in Glastonbury: “In general terms, a small meniscal tear is simply resected and players can return in short order, in a matter of a few weeks or even a week. You see it in football frequently.”
If the tear is larger, however, “the surgeon would repair it and put it back together to preserve it. If it’s a repair, (recovery) is 3-4 months.”
In rare cases, larger tears can’t be repaired at all. Dr. Joyce said the surgeon will only know the severity of the tear by going inside; an MRI only reveals so much.
And there's this from WebMD.com: The location (zone) of the tear is one of the most important factors in determining treatment.
Tears at the outer edge of the meniscus (red zone) tend to heal well because there is good blood supply. Minor tears may heal on their own with a brace and a period of rest. If they do not heal or if repair is deemed necessary, the tear can be sewn together using dissolvable stitches. This is successful 90% to 95% of the time in this area.
The inner two-thirds (white zone) of the meniscus does not have a good blood supply and therefore does not heal well either on its own or after repair. If torn pieces float into the joint space, which may result in a "locked" knee or cause other symptoms, the torn portion is removed (partial meniscectomy) and the edges of the remaining meniscus are shaved to make the meniscus smooth.
When the tear extends from the red zone into the white zone, there may be enough blood supply for healing. The tear may be repaired or removed. This is something the orthopedic surgeon decides during the surgery.
Losing Dyson for the rest of the season would be a severe -- though not fatal -- blow to the Huskies' national title chances. Let's not forget, UConn has survived – even thrived – without Dyson in the past. After Dyson failed a second university-imposed drug test last season and was suspended for a month, the Huskies won their next eight games in the midst of a 10-game overall winning streak.
And, of course, the Huskies were able to throttle the Orange Wednesday night without Dyson for all but the first few minutes.
Still, the 6-foot-4 junior guard has been a much more complete player this season. He’s the team’s most athletic and explosive offensive player, has been a better distributor of the ball all season (76 assists) and has cut down on his turnovers (49).
He’s also UConn’s best on-the-ball defender, frequently guarding an opponent’s top player. Dyson has helped shut down such high scorers as Rutgers’ Mike Rosario, Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell and Notre Dame’s Kyle McAlarney this season.