It was announced today that Boston Celtic forward Kevin Garnett will be out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. His accomplishments include being voted MVP of the 2003-04 season, NBA Defensive Player of the Year of the 2007-08 season and being named to twelve All-Star teams. He is also the all-time leader in NBA seasons played with averages of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.
Although he has a bone spur in his knee that will require minor surgery during the off season, the injury that is keeping him on the bench is a muscle strain, presumably of his quadriceps muscle. I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain the difference between a strain and a sprain, which confuses many people. A strain comes from an injury to a muscle or tendon (the thick fibrous band that attaches a muscle to a bone). It comes after a quick tear, twist or pull of a muscle caused by over contraction or stretching. Pain, weakness, or muscle twitching are frequent symptoms of strains. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments ( thick bands of cartilage that connects bone to bone) caused by a fall or outside force that pulls the surrounding joint beyond its normal range of movement. The degree of sprain can range from a stretched ligament to a completely torn ligament. Symptoms include pain with movement, swelling, bruising, and joint instability. Mild injuries of either type are treated with RICE therapy- rest, ice, compression, and elevation. More severe injuries may require immobilization or possibly surgery to restore function.