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Podiatry in Sports: Warriors’ Harrison Barnes sidelined with high ankle sprain

Golden State Warriors starting forward Harrison Barnes could potentially be out of the lineup for an extended period of time after sustaining a high ankle sprain in the third quarter of a 135-116 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 27.

“He’s being evaluated today. We haven’t gotten the results back yet,” interim head coach Luke Walton told the San Jose Mercury News before Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week.

“We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.”

Barnes, 23, is Golden State’s third-leading scorer and is averaging 13.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 17 games this season.

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has studied the workings of the ankle throughout his lengthy tenure in medicine and believes that Barnes could be sidelined for multiple weeks based on the information currently available.

According to Dr. Goldbaum, when a high ankle sprain occur there is the potential for several structures to be damaged. These include the syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia to the fibula, as well as a tissue known as the interosseous membrane.

High ankle sprains are described as high because they are located above the ankle. They are caused by an outward twisting of the foot and ankle and comprise approximately 15% of all ankle sprains.

The severity of this injury often depends on how many of these structures are damaged and recovery times can vary from a few weeks to a few months.

High ankle sprains are graded on a scale of 1–3 based on their severity:

Grade 1 (Mild): In mild cases, the ligaments are somewhat stretched, resulting in joint stiffness, muscle weakness or tightness with reduced balance and joint awareness. It takes approximately six weeks for ligaments to heal from a Grade 1 sprain.

Grade 2 (Moderate): In moderate cases, there is significant ligament stretching and sometimes partial tearing. It is far more painful than a mild sprain and can make it difficult to walk. A recovery time of 6 to 12 weeks can be expected.

Grade 3 (Severe): In severe cases, the ligament can completely rupture. There is severe swelling, extensive bruising, and immense pain felt with a Grade 3 sprain. In most cases, a patient will need a screw inserted into their ankle to stabilize the area while it heals. A recovery time of 3 to 6 months can be expected.

As of right now, the San Francisco Gate is reporting that the Warriors plan to re-evaluate Barnes’ ankle Sunday, meaning he’s guaranteed to miss at least Wednesday’s game at Charlotte and Saturday’s at Toronto.

The question is, however, how much longer will he be out beyond that?

Given that Barnes’ initial x-rays came back negative, it’s more than likely that he is suffering from a Grade 1 sprain, which means it could take as much as six weeks for the damaged ligaments to fully heal.

While six weeks may seem like a long time to sit out with an ankle sprain, it’s worth noting that New Orleans Pelicans backup point guard Norris Cole suffered a high ankle sprain on Oct. 11 during a routine practice and didn’t return to action until Dec. 1.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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