Basketball and another broken metacarpal

I give up. My heart is willing to play basketball, but my hands can’t absorb any more beatings.

Last winter, I got it into my head that I wanted to play basketball again. But to do so I needed a safer alternative to the brutal games at the SRC and the dangerous and hot games to be had on the playground circut. So, I formed a team, conducted a series of practices with some new found friends.

Exactly 6 days before I was supposed to start our first series of games through City of Scottsdale, I injured my finger. It was something called a “mallet finger,” which was an injury to the distal joint on my ring finger. (Distal = joint closest to the finger nail.) Found a doctor who advised that it needed to taped to a metal clip for 6 weeks and should be good as new.

We played for the next 5 weeks with varying success. My shot was terrible, because my release was off due to the clip. But, we ended up winning the championship game in a crazy last minute shot by one of my teammates. Score one for the good guys, but my hand was still injured.

The mallet finger problem had cured itself for a full six weeks, and I was scheduled to go to the doctor for a final check up. I was recruiting players for the next season of games at Kiwannas Rec center and got involved in a pick-up game. This was again, exactly six days before the new season was supposed to start. Jumping up to tip a ball off a rebound, I re-injured the same finger, but this time it was a different joint. I dislocated the finger at the PIP joint, which is the middle joint in your finger.

After a trip to the ER to have the relocate my finger, they splinted it in place and I went back to the doctor for another evaluation. The solution was buddy-taping the effected finger to the middle finger. The idea was to not let it rotate externally, but to continue to flex it as much as possible.

OK, fine… two injuries to the same finger, both required ongoing, but seemingly minor treatments. I took a few games off, and was ready to resume playing. Apparently, someone was trying to tell me something and I was just not listening…

finger fracture

So, the fifth game of the season occurs. We only had five guys show up, so we ran the whole time. It was late in a game in which we were winning by 10 points or more, and I was tripped up on a play at our defensive end. I went down, tried to get back up and heard a crunching sound from my left hand. Played the remainder of the last few minutes to avoid a forefit. By played, I mean I watched in pain from just inside the inbound line while my teammates played keep away for 2-3 minutes and ran out the clock.

The next day, the urgent care people confirmed it. Broken third metacarpal of the left hand. My hand doctor (who I now have on speed dial) also gave the bad news that it required surgery to repair.

Season over. Even work was placed on hold for three weeks as I scheduled surgery and recovery time. I am very lucky that my doctor believes that the joints should remain active as soon as possible after the repair. It’s the only thing allowing me to post this update now.

Tomorrow, I get stitches removed and my two week update. I’m hoping I get the go-ahead from the good doc to return to work on Monday. Stay tuned for further updates.