The saga surrounding the left ankle of Warriors guard Monta Ellis has taken a step toward conclusion. Bay Area News Group has learned that Ellis has revealed to Warriors management how he hurt his ankle and the two sides are in talks about how to put the situation behind them. According to a team source, the Warriors now know that Ellis' ankle injury — which he had surgery to repair on Aug. 27 — was not sustained "in a gym" and "it happened outdoors and not while playing basketball."
The source did not reveal what Ellis told Warriors management he was doing when he got hurt, only that he "was scared to tell the truth at first" but eventually did.
At first, Ellis told the team he was working out in Jackson, Miss., when he injured his ankle on Aug. 21, tearing a deltoid ligament and suffering a severe high ankle sprain. But he has been in regular communication with Chris Mullin, the Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations, with whom Ellis has a close relationship.
A Warriors official said last week, "We are not going to comment until we have an opportunity to speak with all of the appropriate parties involved."
The team can fine and/or suspend Ellis if he injured his ankle by participating in a prohibited activity, such as motorcycle riding or snowboarding. Should he somehow not be able to play again, the Warriors could terminate the six-year, $66 million contract they signed Ellis to in July.
Ellis will be out for a minimum of three months after surgery in Alabama on Aug. 27. The first six weeks his ankle will be immobilized. The following six weeks will be devoted to rehabilitation. At that point, Ellis will be evaluated to determine whether his ankle is fit for full-contract practice.
According to a news release from the Warriors, Ellis sustained a torn deltoid ligament and a Grade 3 high ankle sprain and a syndemesmosis disruption (which is a tearing of the ligament that holds the fibula and tibia bones together). According to a couple of Bay Area ankle surgeons, speaking generally about the reports of what happened to Ellis, his ankle injuries are among the more severe one can sustain.
The ligaments located on the outward part of the ankle — referred to as collateral ligaments — are not as strong as the deltoid ligament, which is located on the inward part of the ankle. That's why most ankle injuries occur when too much weight is applied on the outside of the foot, such as when a player lands wrong and rolls his ankle outward. It takes a lot more force, they said, to tear the deltoid ligament.
"(Ellis) injury was an example of pronation," said Catherine Cheung, a doctor of podiatric medicine for Post Street Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. "That's when you roll your ankle the other way and most of your weight is on your arch."
The "Grade 3" category is the most severe of ankle sprains (there are only three grades).
Robert Verrette, a DPM for the San Jose Medical Group, said 12 weeks is the standard industry treatment guideline. He, like Cheung, said it is definitely possible for Ellis to make a 100-percent recovery with proper rehabilitation. But that doesn't lessen his sympathy for the Warriors star.
"It's awful," Verrette said. "I wouldn't wish that injury on my worst enemy."
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