Soon after New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler was diagnosed with a bulging disk in his neck, he was expected to be out for about a week as the team doctors were set to reevaluate him and hopefully clear him to play. It now has been a couple of weeks, and a timetable for his return seems to be gone.
There are concerns that Chandler could be dealing with a pinched nerve, which can be tricky to get rid of. According to Marc Berman of the NY Post, all of the symptoms of what Chandler is going through are consistent with those dealing with pinched nerves.
Dr. Wellington Hsu, a spine specialist at Northwestern University, told The Post the symptoms appear to be related to a pinched nerve that isn't easy to get rid of.
According to Dr. Hsu, Chandler's complaint of neck stiffness along with sensations running from his neck to shoulder is often associated with nerve impingement that could need a steroid injection such as an epidural to clear up.
Chandler first injured his neck March 13.
“Because it's going on three weeks, it could very well be a pinched nerve,'' Dr. Hsu said. “That is more serious than just a stiff neck and could take a month of treatment and rest. Surgery usually isn't required after just three weeks — unless it doesn't go away.''
If we're looking at more like a month of recovery and treatment rather than the week the Knicks gave everybody for his return, then you have to start worrying about whether he'll be ready to contribute once the playoffs are here. He should be back in time, but not being able to do many basketball activities with a pinched nerve could really jeopardize the type of shape that he's in once he returns.
Teammate Raymond Felton believes that Chandler just needs to rest and not risk coming back anytime soon. From the NJ.com:
"If he needs to sit out the rest of the year, we're fine with that," point guard Raymond Felton said, as quoted by Steve Popper of The Bergen Record. "We just have to make sure he's all right [for the playoffs]."
Popper went on to say that the Knicks have expressed optimism that Chandler will return before the end of the regular season, as he's listed as day-to-day.
Rest is definitely the best policy with Chandler's recovery right now. And if he is going through a pinched nerve, there isn't much that he can do other than rest to get ready for the playoffs. The Knicks can maintain for now, still get home-court advantage in the first round and have him ready to play during the first round. The Knicks are a half game behind the Indiana Pacers for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, and they've won seven straight games.