JJ Barea's Season Ends With a Ruptured Achilles
This injury hit something close to my heart. I normally write my articles in a neutral tone, but as a longtime Mavericks’ fan, this is a tad different. Coming out of a rare road win in Minnesota, the Mavs may have taken a bigger loss.
After a made layup in the fourth quarter, Mavericks’ guard J.J. Barea landed awkwardly and stayed down. Barea required help to the locker room and later that night, the news was broken that he indeed tore his achilles tendon.
Before getting into the details of the injury and his rehab, I will have to show a little love. As an undrafted, undersized guard out of Northwestern, Barea is an NBA champion and one of only a handful of undrafted players to play 800 games in the league. Mad respect.
Let’s return to what happened during the play. As you can see in the image above, Barea landed with all his force on his right leg. It’s something that he has done repeated over the course of his career. However, the way he landed was in a way that exposed the achilles to amounts of force that caused a rupture. His foot was in plantarflexion, which is when the ankle is pointed towards the floor, and was immediately forced into dorsiflexion as he landed. Barea missed a handful of games last year with calf and achilles issues, though on his left leg.
Currently, Barea is still weighing his options with surgery. Eventually, he will be having surgery and will have a tedious bout of rehab to return. Those of you who have had an achilles repair know there’s a long road ahead. The first 4-6 weeks after surgery will be spent in a walking boot. In those weeks, therapy will consist mostly of regaining ankle range of motion and pain/swelling management. Lower extremity strengthening can be performed, but ankle strengthening usually doesn’t begin until after weaning out of the boot. Jogging can begin within 4-6 months after surgery, depending on who his surgeon is. Sport specific activities can then begin after 6 months with a return date in the 9-12 month range.
Most Mavericks fans are familiar with the injury, as Wes Matthews first season after surgery was with the team. Matthews returned to the court 8 months after his achilles rupture. Other players of note who have had the surgery are Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Kobe Bryant.
The Mavericks’ will sorely miss Barea as the head of that second unit snake. As a 34 year old, his return looks like an undaunting task, but odds have never stopped him. Godspeed J.J.