Tonight, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will miss his third-consecutive game for the Detroit Pistons with a Grade II rotator cuff strain in his left shoulder. How come nobody is talking about how long he may be out for?
There seems to be a lot of optimism surrounding the injury diagnosis. For starters, it’s been labeled as a “strain.” Also, he was listed as “doubtful” for last Sunday’s game against the Lakers instead of immediately being ruled out; and he was officially listed as “questionable” for tonight’s game against Atlanta despite the fact that he was ruled out more than eight hours before game time.
I’m very dubious of it all, and I can’t seem to figure out why more people aren’t talking about the potential severity of this injury. Caldwell-Pope continues to be listed as “day-to-day” on official practice reports, but I’m concerned about the possibility that it’s more of a week-to-week situation.
The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and their tendons in the shoulder. And while injuries to muscle-tendon units or joints are classified as strains, Grade II injuries involve the partial tearing of a muscle(s) or tendon(s).
So, while some breathed a sigh of relief when KCP was diagnosed with a rotator cuff “strain”, he’s actually torn something or multiple somethings up there. Thankfully, this injury occurred on his left, non-shooting shoulder.
Grade II injuries usually do not require surgery, but the fact that sentence needs to be typed shows why I’m baffled this isn’t being discussed more seriously. There also appears to be varying levels of significance when it comes to grade II rotator cuff strains. For example:
Allen Iverson missed zero games with a partial tear of his right (shooting) rotator cuff in February of 2000.
Kelvin Cato missed 15 games during the 2000-2001 season with a partial tear of his left (non-shooting) rotator cuff.
Jimmy Butler missed one game and four day’s time with what the Bulls labeled a right (shooting) shoulder strain in February of 2015.
Joakim Noahmissed nine games (right around three week’s time) during the 2015-2016 season with what the Bulls labeled a left (non-shooting) shoulder sprain.
The point being, everybody — including the team — is treating this like KCP is going to be back any day now, but in reality it is far less certain. As of this writing, he’ll have missed six days total so far and we could be looking at another two-to-three week absence.
Considering where Detroit is in the standings, the fact that Caldwell-Pope is having his best season, and the team’s replacement options, the Pistons can ill-afford to have him out much longer. Every game matters at this point if they are serious about turning it around.
Hopefully, we get more a descriptive update on KCP in the near future rather than an arbitrary listing of him being “questionable” for every upcoming game like he was tonight.