And now for a little optimism! We haven’t seen a lot of that around these parts of late, but with Ben Simmons finally undergoing back surgery this week, have Nets fortunes finally hit bottom and are now on the rebound?
You can never know with this team. Still as Brian Lewis reports Saturday, Simmons road to recovery after Thursday morning’s surgery at Cedars-Sinai Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles has begun and he should be ready to go in training camp which is almost five months away. NBA teams normally return to camp the last week of September.
First things first. That picture of a smiling Simmons post-surgery Thursday had a number of positives attached to it.
Other than the smile, Simmons also wore his hospital ID wristband. This was out-patient surgery, in and out of the hospital, no overnight stay As his surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins IV, notes in his bio, he specializes in “minimally invasive spinal surgery.” Moreover, as one of Cedars-Sinal’s top spinal specialist noted to Lewis, the microdiscectomy procedure has an excellent success rate.
“Microdiscectomy is probably one of the best procedures we do. Most patients recover really fast,” said Dr. Neel Anand. director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center. “It’s outpatient. Literally in two-to-four hours, he can be home.”
Anand also laid out what Simmons post-surgery recovery and rehab should look like, starting with the initial recovery then rehab and a return to play. The projection of a three to four month recovery and rehab seems right, he said.
“I would say in a week-to-10 days, pretty much normal,” Anand said of the initial recovery. “Ten days-to-six weeks, rehabbing. Six weeks-to-three months, pretty much getting back to the field. And then three months I would say most athletes will be back on the field, back doing everything. I’ve seen NHL, NFL, NBA, (all) absolutely back.”
A microdiscectomy eases the pressure on a spinal nerve root by removing whatever material is causing the pain; eg, bone over the nerve root, or disk material under it, etc., Anand told Lewis. He specifically provided the Post reporter with the procedure’s very high success rate but offered caveats as well.
“It’s unbelievably successful, 99 percent,” Anand said. “But there is a situation where you could herniate again. You could blow another disk somewhere else. Unfortunately, there is that 10 percent where [it happens]. And there’s a three percent chance of the same disk herniating again.”
Dr. Anand summed things up this way to Lewis…
“[Athletes] tend to do very well as long as the surgery is good, if it goes well, I think he has a great chance in three months to get back,” Dr. Anand said. “So I think next season he can be fine. He’s got perfect timing.”
It would indeed be nice if the Nets finally had “perfect timing” in anything.