Jrue Holiday – Abdominal Strain & Surgery

The New Orleans guard will remain away from basketball activities for six weeks after undergoing sugery to treat an “abdominal strain” suffered against the Utah Jazz on March 6. An earlier MRI confirmed a lower abdominal injury and Holiday underwent successful surgery in Philadelphia on March 27. Holiday’s injury prematurely ends the best season of the point guard’s career but this early treatment assures that he will be ready for the start of the 2019-2020 NBA season.

The Pelicans have not specifically said what lower abdominal injury that Holiday has suffered. In basketball, abdominal injuries are not reported to occur often. In recent years, players that have suffered from abdominal injuries include Avery Bradley (surgery) last year whose injury extended past the end of the season and Chris Bosh (conservative) in the 2011-12 NBA playoffs. Bradley was reportedly ruled out for 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his rectus abdominis and adductor muscles and Bosh missed only 3 weeks as he fought to return to the Eastern Conference Finals for Miami.

There’s no word on how Bradley became injured but Bosh suffered his abdominal strain during a mid-game dunk as he cocked back and slammed the ball down. It’s currently unclear how Holiday may have sustained his lower abdominal injury but research into tennis players and the commonality of rectus abdominis injuries may identify how basketball players suffer abdominal injuries.

The rectus abdominis (RA) is one of the four main abdominal muscles and its main role during athletic activity to flex the spine (see below). In tennis players, a RA strain is common especially during a serve where players (put simply) bend backwards during the cocking phase of the serve and then contract their abdominals to rapidly flex their spine and jump to hit the ball.

Comparing this motion with basketball-related movements, there is similarity in the way that basketball players can massively extend and then flex their spine during actions such as a dunk (like Bosh) or block. Whilst there’s no way to confirm either mechanism for Holiday’s injury, these are entirely possible ways that he may have become injured.

Maquirriain et al., 2007. Rectus abdominis muscle strains in tennis players. BJSM

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