GREAT NECK, NY – Indiana Pacers star Paul George will probably need more than half a year to return to prime basketball-playing form after suffering a badly broken leg, a New York orthopedic trauma surgeon says.
Mr. George has an open tibia-fibula fracture, which can occur either from the bone jutting out of someone’s skin or something cutting into a person’s skin to expose the bone.
“Any time a bone pops out of the skin, our primary concern is for infection and prevention of infection,” explains Ariel Goldman, MD, orthopedic trauma surgeon at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “Our skin has a lot of bacteria on it, which is normal and everybody has it. However, once the bone pops out of the skin, the bacteria that is on the skin now gets to the bone.”
Treatment for this kind of fracture first includes intravenous antibiotics to prevent infection and surgical debridement, which is cleaning the bone and any bone fragments. Once the area is clean and free of infection, then the orthopedic surgeon will fixate the fracture either with a metal rod or a plate and screws to hold the bone in its place.
Dr. Goldman says that if antibiotics have been administered quickly and the bone has been surgically put back in its place, a patient can regain full pre-injury function in about nine months.