What exactly is a torn radial collateral ligament of the fourth metacarpal on the left hand?

Dr. Eric Strauss, Virtua Hospital's chief of hand surgery, explained Joel Embiid's injury Thursday night on Sixers Postgame Live.

Strauss is not treating Embiid, who will have surgery Friday in New York.

“It’s like a hinge when you hang a door on a wall," Strauss said. "When the hinge is torn, the door doesn’t open and close properly. Same thing with a ligament — the joint is unstable, and his was substantially unstable, obviously. So, it needs to be repaired, and evidently it’s being repaired shortly. That should fix his problem. It’s not career-ending."

The surgery Embiid will have is a common one, according to Strauss.

“It’s an open procedure where the surgeon will make an incision," Strauss said. "What’s done is to take the ligament and put it back where it came from. It’s just torn off. And then insert usually a bone anchor to hold it there. Then, sometimes a little internal brace of a fabric to hold it strongly so that it can be rehabbed quickly.”

And how long does that rehabilitation process typically take?

“In a professional athlete, four to eight weeks would be the range where you would start looking for him on the court, I would say as a guess," Strauss said. "But I think the surgeon at the time will be able to tell better after he’s fixed it, how long it would be.”

 

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