Portland guard CJ McCollum spoke with the media for the first time since being diagnosed with a popliteus strain in his left knee.
For McCollum, it’s about taking it one day at time.
“Just take it day-by-day, rehab and do what they tell me to do, try to do a little bit more each day, working with the range of motion, strengthen some of the muscles around it, and then try and get some of the swelling and stuff like that down a little and go from there,” McCollum said.
It has been three days since McCollum suffered the injury after driving to the basket and landing awkwardly, exhibiting immediate pain. McCollum left the game with 7:08 in the third quarter of Saturday night's loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Just as several Trail Blazers looked up "a popliteus strain" on Sunday, McCollum has done his research as well. He googled “popliteus“ and found that Kevin Garnett had a similar injury, but as McCollum put it “everybody’s body is different.” Garnett missed 13 games and a total of 21 days with the similar injury. However, Garnett suffered the injury at the age of 33, whereas McCollum is 27 years old, as McCollum said age can clearly play a factor.
“I think just based on the research that’s done, there’s not a lot of injuries like this that have happened, so the timeline is different just depending on the age, you know, how well your body heals, what you’ve done before that and where you’re at, but hopefully I can be back soon rather than later,” McCollum said.
For those who still have not googled the muscle -- The popliteus tendon is a small muscle, which is located at the back of your knee. It is important in unlocking the knee from a fully straightened position and is important for stability around the knee and controlling the shearing forces around the knee. (PhysioWorks)
McCollum doesn’t know if he will be return during the regular season, saying his goal is to come back when he is healthy.
As for the pain right now, it is not constant.
“The pain comes and goes depending on what you’re doing… Certain movements, it’s painful , it’s hard to explain, but it’s just an uncomfortable feeling – like something is pulling the back of your leg,” McCollum said.
McCollum posted to his social media after his diagnosis on Sunday.
There is also concern of coming back too early. McCollum mentioned you never want to rush back.
“Obviously you want to get back to the court as fast as possible, but one-- you don’t want to be a liability, you don’t’ want to hurt the team, two-- you don’t want to hurt yourself, you don’t want to set yourself back, try to come back to early and hurt something worse… The muscle is more about a time thing,” McCollum said.
“The muscle is gonna heal at its own rate… I just have to be careful with what I’m doing right now in the first three to five days and then I’ll kind of opening things up as we progress to the seven to 10 day period,” McCollum added.
McCollum said it’s all about working on his “getting his acceleration and deceleration back with the bending of his knee.
He is also trying to rest the knee and changing up his diet in order to strengthening his muscles. McCollum has added more fish oil and a high protein diet.
As for McCollum’s rehab, it includes, “physical therapy in terms of lifting… massage therapy… Did some pool workouts just… working on some different movements that the popliteus affects,” McCollum said.
Hear the entire CJ McCollum interview right here:
LIVE: CJ McCollum addresses the media https://t.co/n6QaIghPVy— Jamie Hudson (@JamieHudsonNBCS) March 19, 2019