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Rodney Stuckey’s injury in perspective

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Rodney Stuckey didn't just break one bone in his hand, he broke three. Krista Jahnke has the gruesome details in the Detroit Free Press:

Here are some specifics: He broke his second, third and fourth metacarpals. Those are the long bones that start at the wrist and end at the first knuckle. According to strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander, it’s somewhat rare to break three of those bones.

He called the break "spiral fractures," because they occur when the hand gets twisted due to force – in this case, from getting caught in a jersey as a player ran past.

The bones can typically absorb a good deal of that torque, but this time, his fingers just bent too far.

The surgery, which Stuckey underwent Thursday morning, was needed to insert a plate that is held in with a number of screws.

Six weeks is the official timeline, but as Jahnke points out, it's far too early to tell how accurate that really is. The silver lining? That it's his non-shooting hand, I guess. And while the timing of the injury is unfortunate, it's better that it happened now, a week before the start of the regular season, as opposed to later.

It's estimated that Stuckey will miss about 17 or 18 games. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that Brandon Roy managed to win Rookie of the Year honors last year despite missing 20 of the team's first 25 games. In fact, if he hasn't already, I wouldn't be surprised if Stuckey receives a reassuring phone call or text message from Roy, a fellow Seattle native whose squared-off against Stuckey in college as well as summertime pickup games. Roy is living proof that just because Stuckey starts a season with a low note doesn't mean he can't finish strong.

In the meantime, Flip Murray will resume his duties as the primary backup point guard, and Arron Afflalo just moved up the depth chart behind Rip Hamilton. Afflalo hasn't drawn nearly the same attention as Stuckey, but he's had a successful preseason in his own right. Before his 1-7 night on Wednesday, he was shooting well over 50% from the field (he finished at 46.9%), and he's been equally consistent from the free-throw line (20-23) and long distance (6-14). Giving him a shot to prove himself as a legitimate rotation option this early in the season may pay off down the road.

Update: DBB reader joejoejoe offered this insight about the injury in the comments:

I hope players like McDyess and Hayes talk to Stuckey about being injured and all that is involved in coming back because a healthy player who gets injured for the first time has doubt and hesitation that they aren't even aware of when they first come back from injury. If you overcome that then you really are ahead of the game mentally. Heal up well Stuckey. You'll come back better than ever. It just takes some healing, rehab, and hard work.

I broke my second metacarpal bone in a HS soccer game. The good news is there isn't a lot of soft tissue in the hand and when the bones heal you are pretty much healed. If you want to know what bones were broken make a fist and then look at the back of your hand. Stuckey broke the middle three bones on the back of his hand that go from your knuckles back to the bones in your wrist. Metacarpals 2-4 attach below your index, middle, and ring finger.