When trying to find a comparison for Zion, a wildly athletic power forward who can jump out of the gym and dunk over anyone, people naturally thought of Blake Griffin. Watching Zion play and the fact he has a forwards body but plays like a guard made Derrick Rose a better comparison. Unfortunately, his knee injury made the comparison even more accurate.
If you watch Zion move around the court, he has the same style as Rose did. It feels like he’s too fast for his own body. The way he changes direction and plants his feet; there is something aggressive about it. At times it looks uncoordinated, but there is so much athleticism there it works.
The greatest breakthrough sports science will have in the next 10 years will be injury prevention. We know how to treat injuries and rehab them, but can we prevent them from happening at all? Finding muscle imbalances, fixing bad habits and monitoring overall body mechanics is the new frontier. A viral video by Brian Sutterer MD explained the risks of Zion’s gate and body type influence his chance of getting injured.
The first thing you will do is stand up and walk a bit, trying to figure out if you are a varus or a valgus. The second effect will be you will stare in everyone’s legs trying to figure that same thing out. (Watch out you don’t walk into a pole or get hit by a car crossing the street.) But let’s get back to Zion.
It’s obvious that his growth spur and gaining 100 pounds in such a short period of time had an impact on his body. I am confident none of this is news for the excellent training staff David Griffin brought in from Phoenix and that this will be addressed. But, it does seem Zion has a structural issues that will take longer to address than just rehabbing the meniscus trim.
The silver lining in all of this we have a lot more knowledge of what increases chances of injury and what needs to be done to prevent it. Zion has a tendency to land on one leg, often landing on the back part of his foot with a straight leg, knee sometimes overextended. Landing on the mid part of the foot with both legs reduces the forces your body suffers in half. But reshaping the way you walk, run, jump, and land takes time.
When can we expect Zion back? We can’t be for sure, but let’s hear the expert give us an educated guess.