A Comprehensive Return-to-Play Analysis of National Basketball Association Players With Operative Patellar Tendon Tears



Patellar tendon tears impart potentially debilitating sequelae among professional basketball athletes.


Professional basketball athletes with patellar tendon tears have decreased return-to-play performance in seasons after injury compared with preinjury statistics.

Study Design:

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.


Patellar tendon tears among National Basketball Association (NBA) athletes from the 1999-2000 to 2014-2015 seasons were identified. Player performance statistics for players who underwent operative patellar tendon repair were compared from 1 season before injury to 1 season after injury and 2 seasons before injury to 2 seasons after injury using the primary outcome of player efficiency rating (PER). Secondary performance outcomes were also analyzed.


A total of 13 patellar tendon tears (10 complete, 3 partial) were identified among 12 NBA athletes. Three players (25%) did not return to play in the NBA. No significant differences were found in PER in comparisons of 1 season before and after injury (16.6 ± 1.5 vs 14.3 ± 1.7; P = .20) or in comparisons of 2 seasons before and after injury (15.8 ± 0.8 vs 6.3 ± 2.3; P = .49). Diminished performance outcomes were noted for total minutes played (2598 ± 100 vs 1695 ± 78; P = .01), games played (74.8 ± 1.9 vs 60.5 ± 1.4; P = .04), and minutes per game (34.8 ± 1.5 vs 28.2 ± 1.8; P = .02) in comparisons of 1 season before and after injury. Total minutes played per season (2491 ± 190 vs 799 ± 280; P = .045) decreased in comparisons of 2 seasons before and after injury.


Patellar tendon tears were not associated with diminished efficiency-adjusted performance, as measured by PER, games played, minutes per game played, points per 36 minutes, and rebounds per 36 minutes. However, decreases in total minutes played were observed following patellar tendon tear. Orthopaedic surgeons may be better prepared to counsel basketball athlete patients with patellar tendon tear given these findings.

Keywords: patellar tendon injury, patellar tendon tear, return to play, sports medicine, basketball, National Basketball Association 

Autor / Fonte:Michael V Nguyen, John V Nguyen, David P Taormina, Hien Pham, Michael J Alaia Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine 2018, 6 (10): 2325967118800479
Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187427/