Some further information about the back injury -- L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) -- that is affecting the Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum:
One of the bright spots about this type of fracture is that it is unlikely to jeopardize the stability of the spine or affect the spinal cord, since the core part of the vertebrae remains unaffected.
NFL quarterbacks Tony Romo and Cam Newton have suffered similar injuries, with Newton’s coming in a car accident. A more advanced description of the injury:
A transverse process is a bony protrusion from the back of a vertebrae bone in the spine. There is one on each side of every vertebra in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
Symptoms include sudden pain in the back at the time of injury. There will be a decreased range of motion of the affected area of the spine and pain when trying to bend or twist the affected area. In particular, there may be tenderness and swelling around the site of the fracture.
A transverse process fracture is quite a rare injury. It usually results from a sudden extreme twisting or side bending movement. Occasionally it may be due to a direct impact to the process itself, although they are pretty well covered by muscle, so this is not common.
McCollum apparently suffered the injury last week but has not been listed on the team's injury report for any of the last three games. That could be taken to mean that there was never a doubt he would play in any of them. But from this information, it's pretty certain he is playing in a great deal of discomfort.