Abdenour Abdenour
Warriors athletic trainer Tom Abdenour is hosting NBA.com's Gonna Make You Sweat: NBA Health & Conditioning section and will be answering fan questions about health, injuries and rehabilitation through the 2001-02 season.

Here are Abdenour's responses to a selection of e-mails:

I would like to pose a question about an injury. I landed on someone's foot some months ago, and since then the soft tissue area below my right ankle has been hurting. X-rays show nothing wrong -- doc said it just needed some rest. However, it still hasn't recovered. What do you suggest? Hope you can help! Thanks!!

Abdenour: You have a lot of company in the NBA regarding the way that people sprain their ankles. Much like many of our players, the injury is soft tissue in nature. It sounds like your ankle could use some strengthening, and I suggest the outline that was posted earlier in December here on NBA.com. It is an assortment of ankle exercises designed to improve strength and balance, two components that will enhance your recovery. Check these out and review them with your doctor to make sure it is what you need. Good luck.

Does wearing ankle guards help in preventing an sprained ankle from further injuries? Is it advisable to take off shoes immediately after a sprained ankle? Or keep the injured feet in the shoe to reduce swelling ?
Eugene, Ore.

Abdenour: I am a big believer in supporting the ankles to prevent injury. I tape many of our players' ankles but there are many good braces on the market now. I'd suggest a brace that has the "figure 8" strap and supportive stirrup element built in. As far as what to do at the time of injury, you can't go wrong with taking off the shoe AND applying a cold pack or bag of ice for about 30 minutes. This will give you the cold and compression that you need to minimize the swelling. Prop your leg up while doing this and that will help even more.

Allan Houston works year-round to maintain his sculpted physique.
Tom Pidgeon/NBAE/Getty Images
How does one attain the sculpted physique of many NBA players like an Allan Houston or Antonio Davis?
Big Nel
Marlboro, NJ

Abdenour: Guys like Allan and Antonio are blessed physically, but they spend a tremendous amount of time in the weight room getting strong. Like many NBA players, they follow outstanding offseason strength and conditioning programs and then maintain their strength during the season by lifting when they can. These players are very dedicated to their profession and work very, very hard.

I have recently pulled my groin while playing hockey. The incident happened three weeks ago and each time I go back on the ice and I go down into a split style position my groin starts to hurt again. It would be great if you could tell me some exercises on how to strengthen my groin area again.
Vienna, Austria

Abdenour: We see a fair number of groin strains in basketball, but I'll guess that there are more in hockey. Before starting a strengthening program for the groin, I believe it is important to have pain-free flexibility. Therefore, be sure you can get into that split position without pain before starting to do too much strength work. Here are a couple of tips from our experience:

1. heat the area before stretching: electric heating pad or moist heat for about 15-20 minutes.
2. flexibility exercises: use the traditional "butterfly" groin stretch after the muscle is warm.
3. strength: a simple exercise is to lay on your back with your knees bent, and open your legs a little so that you can put a basketball between your knees. GENTLY squeeze the ball and hold that for about 6 seconds, then relax. Repeat this sequence for a set of 6 repetitions and then rest for 1 minute. Do a total of four sets of six repetitions of this squeeze SO LONG AS THERE IS NO PAIN.
4. after the strength work: apply some form of cold to the area for 15 - 20 min. A cold pack or ice bag would work well.

Hope it helps.

Well I want to jump higher like everyone but everybody says something different. What should I do exactly? First a strength program or a plyo or what to do? If you can help I would be glad! Thanks!
Istanbul, Turkey

Abdenour: You are on the right track regarding increasing your vertical jump with strength/plyometric program. My suggestion would be to get your legs strong first from strength work and then incorporate the plyometrics. It is important to start your plyometrics with work that is not too explosive and not too many repetitions. I'd suggest that you coordinate your program with a strength coach, personal trainer, or teacher to make sure you are as efficient as possible.

Hey Ab! First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on this cool webpage and all the knowledge you're sharing with everyone. I was just wondering, everytime after my basketball games, my knee starts to hurt (the part between the knee cap connecting to the leg). Is there any type of excercises that I can do help stop the pain and decrease the chance of it coming back?
Toronto, Ontario

Abdenour: Thanks for the kind words. I'm having fun and I hope our "global" audience this week is too. As far as the knee pain, that is something that we see often in the NBA. My thought regarding your initial care would be to heat the area up with a heating pad of some kind before you play. Then, wear some type of neoprene rubber sleeve to keep the area warm while you play. Finally, apply a cold pack for about 15-20 minutes at the end of your game. In the next couple of weeks, we will have an outline of some knee strengthening exercises that might benefit you, so stay tuned.

Bonzi Wells was able to fully recover from ACL reconstruction last season.
Sam Forencich /NBAE/Getty Images
I have just recently undergone a knee (ACL) reconstruction on my jumping leg. I am recovering and going to physio therapy. Could you tell me how long it normally takes an athlete to recover from such an injury and what are some indications that they are ready to play again? Is it possible for the athlete to be able to jump as high as well? Thank you.
Brisbane, Australia

Abdenour: Good Day, Mate. You are on the right track, there is no question of that. My suggestion is to keep up the physiotherapy and strengthen you hamstrings and quads as best you can. It is hard to project a return date of your case, but several NBA players who have had ACL reconstruction have returned to the game within about six to eight months, some longer, some quicker. Bonzi Wells of the Portland Trail Blazers had ACL reconstruction at the end of this past season and then returned to begin this season. His rehab time was around five months. He started the season against our team and did quite well. Many others have returned to a high level of play after ACL surgery too. Keep your goals in focus and stay in contact with your therapist and surgeon.

Has it been your experience that sprains are more common or consistent with certain brands or kinds of shoes in comparison to others? If so, which tend to be more often the cause of those sprains?
Los Angeles

Abdenour: We have not noticed a trend in any one type of shoe that seems to have problems. I know the shoe companies put in a tremendous amount of time and energy into research and development to make the best product possible. Safety is an important element to them also.

I tore my Achilles tendon seven weeks ago and underwent surgery soon after. I have been doing a lot of exercises to strengthen my foot and calf muscles and feel like I am making good progress. My question is whether there is any specific exercises or treatments you can recomend to strengthen the tendon and increase elasticity?
Calgary, Alberta

Abdenour: It seems like you are on track. My guess is that your surgeon wants you to restore your flexibility and strength so that you can move your foot up and down without difficulty. I'm sure your therapist or physician will start you on calf work, such as "toe raises" on a weight machine or with free weights when the time is right. The success in any rehab setting is based on how hard the patient works, so keep up the good work.

I have recently recovered from a fractured fibula. I can perform normal functions fine. However, when playing basketball or sprinting, my injured shin/fibula tingles and feels weak at times that I can barely get off the ground. Is there a way to help regain my previous explosiveness?

Abdenour: Check with your doctor to make sure that playing basketball is an approved activity at this time. If everything is fine, try wearing an ankle brace. That will help support the ankle a bit, which is where the lower tip of the fibula is at. That support may minimize some of the forces that are going to the bone. As far as your explosion, keep playing and that will come gradually. If you strength train for your legs, that would help, otherwise hang in there.

Hi, I'm a 17-year old basketball player, and a big problem for me is my stamina. What are some good exercises to increase it, and what is the best thing to eat before a game (and how many hours before) to have a lot of energy?
Mississauga, Ontario

Abdenour: Many of our players utilize a carbohydrate-oriented meal about three to four hours before a game as their "pregame" meal. If they feel a little hungry prior to the game, they might eat some fruit or one of the "energy" types of bars about an hour before the game. As far as your stamina is concerned, keep working hard and that will come. Good luck.