I'm from sydney australia and I've followed the NBA for about 20 years. I've always heard the story about the trailblazers having "bad luck" with injuries, that Portland would've had a great nucleus if only Roy could stay healthy. That B Roy just had bad knees.
Have a look at the following footage ..... and see whether you think it's bad genetics, bad injuries or if we can start to apportion some of the blame (or the majority of) to very poor rehabilitation - without the appropriate focus on how he did his exercises that caused his downfall. And as Zig Zigler has expressed after direct contact with the team - perhaps Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla too? and what about all the other injuries the Blazers suffered in the last few years?
Check out this blog post that explains things really well, by one of my physiotherapist colleagues
or alternately from youtube videos
Now, when you watch the videos is it something easy for your eye to see how poorly executed the movement is and why it's a problem for the knee? Now as people trained or untrained see the video, I think you should be able to see 2 things that really stand out:
* Terrible knee position (knee should ideally sit straight in line with hip and ankle when exercising)
* The trainer isn't even looking at his knees during most of the training! (and maybe that was just so the video could be recorded, but i wouldnt let any of my home mums or weekend sport dads exercise that way, let alone a basketballer worth $18mil + per year)
As a physiotherapist for over 10 years, we are trained to look for these mal-alignments. We see them in grannies that have knee pain walking down stairs, we see it in our runners with knee pain. This poor movement is very very apparent in Brandon's case.
There is strong evidence that changing how a sportsman or woman's knee moves in landing, or in an isolated squat has a significant affect on their injury profile. There was a study by Caraffa in 1996, that details how that affected ACL injuries for soccer players. A lecture run by Orthopaedic surgeons in Sydney highlighted that particularly well.
on pg 17 there is other research that had been done on basketball players in 1990 to reduce injury. Now if you consider that this information is 15+ years old, it seems irresponsible that the trailblazers training staff could possibly not be running the same programs with their players. Coaches for lower level non professional netball teams in Australia (at all ages) are told to not let their players bend that way! (see pg 4 of coaching manual from Netball Australia, and for those that do not know what netball is - think of women flying around a basketball sized court barrelling each other over in a 'non-contact sport' :) )
I believe most if not all medical/sports professionals would be able to see the error in the training program Brandon was doing. His mechanics are fixable, changeable and trainable and not changing them likely lead to the exact problems he experienced. i would be very interested if the same exercises were being done as poorly by any other NBA players, or trailblazers.
the thing that really bugs me, is that every time a sports writer mentions Brandon's injuries - it always comes off as - his knees just couldn't hold up, or he was injury prone. Now I know that Brandon had injuries (as did Greg) before they started at Portland. But, when I see the way Brandon was trained during his time with the Blazers, I can't put all of the responsibility on him and his 'genetics'. It appears he's following exactly what his medical staff are telling him to do.It's a shame that they are telling him all the wrong things to do.
As an NBA player it is your responsibility to get your body into the best shape you can - by working out hard, and listening to your coaches and trainers. For the trainers - it is our job to pick up these problems and guide you to exercise in the best way to rehab your injuries, prepare you for the season and prevent further injury. I don't blame Brandon for doing these exercises poorly - it's the trainers who should be owning up. It's like a 10year old that can't spell - maybe you'd blame him, until you saw that his teacher promoted him to continue spelling poorly all through school. Wouldn't be surprised if it was the same bad approach to Greg's knees that contributed to his problem