Athlete's Fractured Wrist Plays into Game

Kendall Marshall fractured scaphoid has big role in NCAA tournament

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) A broken wrist is playing a big role in anticipation of Friday night's NCAA tournament game that pairs North Carolina against Ohio.

Tar Heels point guard Kendall Marshall broke his right wrist last Sunday night and had surgery on Monday. A screw was inserted in his fractured scaphoid bone. Marshall is considered “irreplaceable” to the team, and his healing process has received a lot of attention in the past few days.

"Always consult with your healthcare provider after a sports related injury. "

Marshall was injured when he was fouled by a player on the opposing team and landed hard on his right hand. His right wrist was fractured, but he returned later in the game to play with his injury. The Tar Heels won the game.

Marshall is left handed, but sports fans are wondering if his wrist will be healed quickly enough to play in the Sweet 16.

The wrist consists of eight small carpal bones and the two forearm bones that connect the hand to the arm. When enough pressure is applied, any of these bones can break or fracture.

Falling on to an outstretched hand, as Marshall did, is an extremely common way to break a wrist. Marshall's fall fractured his scaphoid, a cashew-shaped bone between the hand and the forearm on the thumb side of the wrist.

It's the most commonly fractured bone of the carpal bones. Unfortunately for Marshall and his fans, scaphoid bones are unpredictable when it comes to healing.

That's because a fracture cuts off normal circulation of blood to the bone. It can also be difficult to stabilize in a cast.

A screw, like the one Marshall had inserted, is part of a procedure that serves to hold the bone fragments together.

Marshall got his cast off recently, but it's still up in the air whether he'll be able to play or not.

If you have a scaphoid fracture, and you're not a basketball star, doctors will likely tell you that your recovery will take months rather than days. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, a period of six to twelve months is typical.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 22, 2012
Last Updated:
March 23, 2012