Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright played Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars despite having a metacarpal fracture in his right hand.
The injury occurred two weeks ago during a drill in practice which he slipped while running a route, and when he put two fingers on the ground to gather himself he suffered the injury.
He subsequently missed the following two games, and was required to wear a splint on his right hand. After an x-ray it was assessed that the injury will not require surgery to fix the bone.
It is an injury to the bone that is located at the level of the palm of the hand, which is primarily comprised of five long bones that are known as metacarpals. The metacarpal bones are in place to support the hand, and the end of the bones form the knuckles on the backside of the hand.
This type of injury typically occurs in falls, sports, fist fights, or car accidents. It also occasionally happens when there is direct impact to the hand or in Wright’s case a fall onto the fingers or thumb.
There are a few situations where surgery would be recommended such as if there are multiple fractures, or open fractures of the hand, or if the fracture pattern is inherently unstable. If the patient has an isolated metacarpal fracture, the orthopedic sports medicine specialist will determine if surgery is required to fix the injury by looking at two factors: length and rotation.
In terms of length, if the finger is shortened due to the fracture surgery would be required to return the finger back to normal size. With regard to rotation, this can be assessed by the patient making a fist with the fractured hand. If the finger that has the fracture crosses other fingers when a fist is made, surgery would be required to fix the deformity; this is called scissoring.
The surgery to fix the ailment entails either the doctor using wires, plates or screws. The type of method of fixation depends on the particular type of fracture.
In Wright’s case he appears to have suffered an isolated fracture that doesn’t require surgery to repair the bone. He has stated that the bone is “pretty much intact” and is something that he can play through as long as he is able to keep his fingers together.
The 25-year-old was able to participate fully in practice this week and displayed that he can still catch the ball despite the injury. This coupled with reduced swelling and pain in the injured area resulted in him suiting up for the Titans’ Week 16 game against the Jaguars.
In the game, Wright didn’t wear a splint to protect the injury, and was quite productive with four catches for a team-leading 73 receiving yards. Following Thursday’s game, Wright didn’t state that the injury had worsened or bothered him more.
So in order for the third-year wide receiver to remain on the field as desires for the team’s season regular finale against the Indianapolis Colts, it will come down to his pain tolerance and if he can keep the swelling down.
If you have injured your hand or wrist, contact our sports medicine specialists at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego to undergo an evaluation.
Kendall Wright Photo Credit: Don McPeak – USA TODAY Sports