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Podiatry in Sports: Celtics’ Jae Crowder suffering from a high ankle sprain

Boston Celtics swingman Jae Crowder is expected to miss multiple weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

The injury occurred when Crowder fell awkwardly to the floor after a layup in the third quarter of 102-98 loss to the Houston Rockets on March 11. The team initially expressed optimism that the injury wasn’t serious, but eventually discovered a far grimmer outlook upon further evaluation.

Jae Crowder is one of several NBA players to be sidelined by a high ankle sprain this season.

Jae Crowder is one of several NBA players to be sidelined by a high ankle sprain this season.

“After I talked to [reporters on Friday], [Crowder] went back in and saw the doctor and had developed a little bit of swelling, has a high ankle sprain,” Stevens told ESPN. “He’s going to be out a couple of weeks, minimum.”

Crowder, 25, was in the midst of a breakout season before his injury, averaging 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 steals in 66 games for the Celtics this season.

What Boston will likely miss most, however, is Crowder’s versatile play on defense.

“He’s one of our most versatile players certainly in his ability to guard,” Stevens told the Boston Herald. “I think that a lot of perimeter players have perimeter defensive versatility, but there aren’t a ton of guys that can guard 4’s for long stretches or sometimes 5’s for long stretches, and Jae can do all that. So that’s one of the things that’s going to be quite a balancing act without him, and we’re going to have to have guys step up and play. We’ll probably end up playing a little more traditional because of that, and we’ll see.”

The question now is: how long will Crowder be out?

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has seen numerous high-ankle sprains throughout his tenure in medicine and can offer some insight into Crowder’s situation based on the information currently available.

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.

According to Dr. Goldbaum, 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, it looks as if Crowder is suffering from a Grade 1 sprain based on the information currently available as well as the team’s optimism that he will be able to return this season.

Other players who missed time with Grade 1 sprains this season include Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, who missed five weeks, and New Orleans Pelicans backup point guard Norris Cole, who suffered a high ankle sprain on Oct. 11 during a routine practice and didn’t return to action until Dec. 1.

With that in mind, it’s more than likely that Crowder likely won’t return for at least 3-4 weeks, even if the sprain is considered mild.

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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