Dr. M: With Shaq's injuries, size does matter

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Dr. M: With Shaq's injuries, size does matter

By Dr. Neil Minkoff
Special to CSNNE.com

Shaqs out. Again. Lots of nagging injuries have been bothering him. So far this season, hes had sore knees, bad hips, a painful Achilles tendon and now a foot injury.

Celtics fans dont even seem bothered by it. Sure, theres worry about the big guy in the playoffs, but most fans seem sympathetic to a middle-aged guy (he turned 39 Sunday) with nagging injuries still playing in the NBA.

Not me.

And heres why the issue is Shaqs size. The Big Diesel has become a Double-wide. Shaq needs to lose weight. There, I said it.

When a basketball player jumps, his knees and ankles are designed to act as shock absorbers to take the impact. This is a combination of the joints bending and cartilage flexing. There are even little sacs of fluid called bursas that absorb the force.

So thats what we need to focus on if we want to protect Shaqs knees, hips and ankles the force of the landing. Shaq is listed by the Celtics at 325 pounds. Please. I went back and looked at Shaq in his Magic and Laker days. My educated guess is that hes tipping the scales between 350 and 360 pounds, up maybe 50 pounds from when he entered the league. Thats under 3 pounds of gain a year they just add up.

His weight becomes magnified when you look at force of impact, though. Thats because you multiply the players weight by the effect of gravity pulling him to the floor to measure force of impact. The effect of gravity has been found to be 32.2. Thats right, each pound counts 32 times when measuring the force.

So say Shaq weighs 350 pounds. Every time he jumps, his legs absorb an amazing 11,270 pounds of force. This season, Shaq is averaging 5.5 FGA per game. Those are all dunks and lay-ups, so thats 61,985 pounds of force. Hes averaging 4.9 boards per game, so theres another 55,223 pounds of force. His 2.3 blocks per game add another 25,921 pounds of force. And we should assume another 5 jumps or so on block attempts and missed boards for another 56,350 pounds of force. Thats over 200,000 pounds of force every game.

Lets compare to another big guy to get a sense of how big this is. KG is listed at 220 pounds, which I can believe. The impact of each of his jumps is only 7,084. So KGs average game of 11.8 FGA (assume 8 dunks and lay-ups), 9.2 boards, 0.8 blocks and the same 5 assumed missed blocks and boards only comes up to 162,932 pounds of force. Look at that double the production of Shaq and way less force to deal with.

The big difference is the weight.

Heres another thing: Shaq has bad hips and a bad back. The pelvic bone is like a see-saw balanced on the hips - the more weight is piled in front, the more strain felt by the hips and lower back. I learned in med school that every extra pound a man carries on his gut means 10 pounds of pressure on the low back.

For the sake of argument, say Shaq split the difference between his Magic weight and his Celtic weight. Hed get down to 325, you know, the weight the Cs say he is.

That would be a reduction in impact force of 10 percent, which is huge. Would that lead to 10 percent more production? I say yes. Would that lead to 10 percent more games played? Once again, I say yes.

I never even got to the important reasons Shaq should lose weight heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk are the big ones. I just write about it from an injury point of view.

Cmon, Shaq. Lose the weight. Do it for your career. Do it for Celtics fans. Most importantly, do it for your kids.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Williams surprises with big first half

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: Williams surprises with big first half

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Game 5 between Boston and Cleveland as the Cavs have a comfortable 75-57 lead.

STARS

LeBron James

He is definitely in triple-double mode tonight, tallying 20 points along with seven rebounds and seven assists at the half while shooting a blistering 7-for-8 from the field primarily on lay-ups and dunks.

Avery Bradley

The deficit is huge, but it hasn’t stopped Avery Bradley from playing with the kind of focus and desperation that sadly, most of his teammates are lacking tonight. He has 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting.

 

STUDS

Deron Williams

Easily the biggest surprise of the game tonight, D-Will looks like the D-Will from a few years ago that was viewed as one of the top point guards in the NBA. He has 14 points at the half on 5-for-6 shooting.

Jae Crowder

The Celtics have to be careful with Crowder in the second half. He has 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting and is doing a good job of attacking the Cavs defense and getting to the free throw line. But he also has three personal fouls.

Kevin Love

Once again Kevin Love got off to a fast start for the Cavaliers, and has 12 points along with seven rebounds at the half.

Kyrie Irving

Like the rest of the Cavs, Irving has also had a solid start shooting the ball. He has 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting to go with three assists.

 

DUDS

Kelly Olynyk

He’s in the starting lineup ahead of Amir Johnson for his ability to help space the floor with his shot-making. So far, shot-taking is all Olynyk has done in the first half. He’s scoreless at the half, missing all four of his shots from the field while grabbing just two rebounds.

 

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are far from being healthy heading into tonight’s must-win Game 5, but they will have all of their players available with the exception of Isaiah Thomas (hip).

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown (right hip) was questionable heading into tonight’s game, but he told CSNNE.com earlier that he was planning to give it a go tonight.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens confirmed later on that the 6-foot-7 rookie would in fact play tonight.

His presence tonight is one of the many keys to Boston’s efforts to keep their season alive.

They trail Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with a loss tonight ending their season and with that, sending the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

Boston’s Amir Johnson (right shoulder) did not play in Game 4, but will be in uniform and available to play tonight. Stevens said the 6-foot-9 veteran was healthy enough to play in Game 4 but Stevens elected to keep him out of the game because he wanted Johnson to have more than one day to rest his shoulder before potentially playing him again.

In other injury-related news, Stevens confirmed comments made earlier in the day by Danny Ainge regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip injury which led to the Celtics shutting him down for the playoffs after the injury proved to be too much for him to play through at halftime of Boston’s Game 2 loss.

Speaking during 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, Ainge said there was “a lot” of inflammation around the affected joint on Thomas’ right hip.

“It had gotten worse from the MRI’s he had before,” said Ainge who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”

Said Stevens: “It sounds to me like the course of action right now … is let the inflammation go down a little bit.”

Ainge said earlier that because of the inflammation, it will likely be at least a couple weeks before Thomas and the Celtics will know if he will require surgery or whether another form of treatment will be needed.

Because of that uncertainty, Ainge stressed that Thomas would not return to play in this series even if it were closer.

“No. No way. He’s done (for the season),” Ainge said.