When the Raptors updated the injury status of three players yesterday, two of the updates seemed simple enough. Kyle Lowry had a bone bruise that would keep him out of action another week or two and Alan Anderson had a tear somewhere in his foot that would take 3-6 weeks to recover from.
Then there was Landry Fields and his “ulnar nerve transposition” surgery to fix compression/entrapment in his shooting elbow. I assume that many Raptors fans trying to figure out just what in the hell was really wrong with Fields probably took to Google immediately.
Well without getting too in depth, the basic research I’ve done indicates that the ulnar nerve is responsible for the “funny bone” feeling we all fear, and that entrapment often refers to the ulnar nerve being pinched somewhere along its journey through various internal tunnels and passageways.
When this entrapment happens, symptoms can include numbness, the sensation of hitting your aforementioned “funny bone” and eventually weakness in the affected arm’s hand. From my basic understanding of the condition, it does sound like it could legitimately affect a basketball player’s shooting stroke if said player suffers the condition on his shooting arm.
Landry described his symptoms and condition on Thursday, where he revealed that he noticed his hand was clenching into a claw, specifically his pinkie and ring fingers, as he approached the release point of his shot. To fix this, doctors transported Fields’ ulnar nerve over a bone in his elbow that the nerve used to rub against during his shooting motion.
It all sounds crazy complex, but for the most part, Raptors fans are left with and are likely only concerned with one simple question – will it fix Landry’s shot?
Well let’s hope so, because as previously mentioned, it was almost impossible for his shot to get any worse that it was in the first week of the season. On the bright side, numbness, feeling like you hit your funny bone, and your hand then clenching into a claw would seem to be a pretty devastating combination when it comes to trying to shoot a basketball, especially from long range, where the Raptors hoped Fields could help out.
So maybe once he’s healed, back in shape and confident in his abilities again, we’ll finally get the better shooting, fundamentally sound glue guy we all hoped would arrive when the Raptors signed Fields to a three-year, $18.75 million contract.
It would definitely be encouraging to see him knock down a few shots in his first couple of games back in the lineup to ease everyone’s mind, including his own, and really put this bizarre affliction behind him.