Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch dropped some rather unfortunate news Friday morning during shoot-around when he announced that veteran point guard and team voicebox Patrick Beverley will miss at least the next two weeks after suffering a left adductor strain early in the team’s win against the Miami Heat.
Patrick Beverley will be “re-evaluated” in a couple weeks, per Chris Finch— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) November 26, 2021
The adductors, more commonly known as “the groin,” are a collection of powerful muscles located on the inner thigh. When used in isolation they perform an action known as “adduction,” which involves pulling the leg towards the midline of the body. However, during more functional tasks such as running and jumping, the adductors, particularly the powerful adductor magnus, help stabilize the hip and propel the leg into extension.
The adductors, along with the hamstring and calf muscle groups, are prone to injury due to their ability to generate power in combination with their myriad contract-relax cycles during athletic activity. In short, the adductors are strong and often produce too much power, too quickly for their muscle fibers to handle.
Like any other soft tissue injury, adductor strains are graded on a 1-3 scale. Grade 1 strains occur when fewer than 10% of the muscle fibers are damaged. Grade 2 strains occur when 10-50% of the muscle fibers are torn, while grade 3 strains occur when more than 50% of the fibers are compromised.
Grade 1 strains usually heal in a couple of weeks but are prone to re-injury. They usually aren’t accompanied by significant pain or swelling, making it difficult to know when the injury has fully healed or is at high risk for aggravation. It can take a couple of months for grade 2 strains to heal, while it isn’t uncommon for grade 3 strains to require surgical intervention. Grade 2 strains are often the most painful, while grade 3 strains result in an inability for the leg to be forcefully adducted.
Based on the reporting surrounding Beverley’s injury, it’s safe to assume the Wolves believe he suffered at least a grade 1 strain. Rehabilitation will likely focus on rest, limiting pain swelling, and regaining any lost range of motion at first before shifting focus to strengthening, particularly what’s known as eccentric strengthening.
There are three types of muscle contractions: isometric, concentric, and eccentric. An isometric contraction occurs when the muscle fibers contract, but the associated joint does not move. Concentric contractions result in the joint being pulled in the direction of the muscle force (picture the “curl” portion of a biceps curl exercise). Eccentric contractions involve the muscle fibers contracting, but the muscle body itself lengthening (picture the lowering portion of a biceps curl). It has been proven that having strong eccentric contraction strength can reduce the risk of injury and re-injury with the adductors, hamstrings, and calves.
In all, don’t expect Beverley’s injury to be overly serious in the long term. However, his absence over at least the next two weeks, and more than likely, more, could provide some issues for the Wolves, who seemed to finally find their groove.