Warriors athletic trainer answers questions about health and rehabilitation
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
in nature. It sounds like your ankle could use some strengthening,
suggest the outline that was posted earlier in December here on
It is an assortment of ankle exercises designed to improve strength
balance, two components that will enhance your recovery. Check
and review them with your doctor to make sure it is what you need.
Does wearing ankle guards help in preventing an sprained ankle from further
Is it advisable to take off shoes immediately after a sprained ankle?
Or keep the injured feet in the shoe to reduce swelling ?
Abdenour: I am a big believer in supporting the ankles to prevent injury. I
many of our players' ankles but there are many good braces on the
I'd suggest a brace that has the "figure 8" strap and supportive
element built in. As far as what to do at the time of injury, you
wrong with taking off the shoe AND applying a cold pack or bag of
about 30 minutes. This will give you the cold and compression that
to minimize the swelling. Prop your leg up while doing this and
help even more.
How does one attain the sculpted physique of many NBA players like an
Allan Houston or Antonio Davis?
Allan Houston works year-round to maintain his sculpted physique.
Tom Pidgeon/NBAE/Getty Images
Abdenour: Guys like Allan and Antonio are blessed physically, but they spend a
tremendous amount of time in the weight room getting strong. Like
NBA players, they follow outstanding offseason strength and
programs and then maintain their strength during the season by
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.
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
for the groin, I believe it is important to have pain-free
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
from our experience:
1. heat the area before stretching: electric heating pad or
heat for about 15-20 minutes.
2. flexibility exercises: use the traditional "butterfly"
stretch after the muscle is warm.
3. strength: a simple exercise is to lay on your back with
bent, and open your legs a little so that you can
put a basketball
between your knees. GENTLY squeeze the ball and
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
4. after the strength work: apply some form of cold to the
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!
Abdenour: You are on the right track regarding increasing your vertical jump
with strength/plyometric program. My suggestion would be to get
strong first from strength work and then incorporate the
It is important to start your plyometrics with work that is not too
and not too many repetitions. I'd suggest that you coordinate your
with a strength coach, personal trainer, or teacher to make sure you
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?
Abdenour: Thanks for the kind words. I'm having fun and I hope our "global"
this week is too. As far as the knee pain, that is something that
often in the NBA. My thought regarding your initial care would be
the area up with a heating pad of some kind before you play. Then,
type of neoprene rubber sleeve to keep the area warm while you play.
apply a cold pack for about 15-20 minutes at the end of your game.
next couple of weeks, we will have an outline of some knee
exercises that might benefit you, so stay tuned.
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.
Bonzi Wells was able to fully recover from ACL reconstruction last season.
Sam Forencich /NBAE/Getty Images
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
had ACL reconstruction have returned to the game within about six to
eight months, some longer, some quicker. Bonzi Wells of the
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
Many others have returned to a high level of play after ACL surgery
Keep your goals in focus and stay in contact with your therapist and
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?
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?
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
foot up and down without difficulty. I'm sure your therapist or
will start you on calf work, such as "toe raises" on a weight
or with free weights when the time is right. The success in any
setting is based on how hard the patient works, so keep up the good
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
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
the lower tip of the fibula is at. That support may minimize some
the forces that are going to the bone. As far as your explosion,
playing and that will come gradually. If you strength train for your
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?
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