The first injury I’ll be taking a look at is one that Marian Gaborik suffered near the end of the NHL regular season and possibly in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was revealed after the playoffs that Gaborik had sustained a torn labrum in his shoulder that required surgery.
Gaborik is a 6 ft 1 in, 198 pound right winger for the New York Rangers and was their top goal-scorer and point-produced in the 2011-2012 NHL season. Gaborik registered 41 G and 35 A for 76 points and added 5 G and 6 A totaling 11 point in 20 games played in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Many Ranger fans were disappointed with Gaborik’s playoff performance as the team was eventually eliminated despite being the top Eastern Conference seed. Gaborik is known as one of the best skaters in the league and possibly the quickest. The shoulder injury most certainly contributed to his low playoff production as he probably was unable to get off good shots as he was in a lot of pain and may not of had his full range of motion.
What is a labrum?
The labrum is a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint. Like the hip, the shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The humerus (arm bone) forms a ball at the shoulder socket which is a part of the shoulder blade. These two bones are connected by ligaments (tough tissues) that forms tethers and holds the two bones in place. There are two types of cartilage in the shoulder, the articular cartilage and the labrum. While the articular cartilage is on the end of the bones allowing them to glide and move on each other, the labrum has a completely different function. A more fibrous type of cartilage, it is only found attached around the socket and performs two specific functions.
Functions of the labrum
One of the main functions of the labrum is to deepen the socket so that the arm 'ball' stays in place. A second function of the labrum is to be an attachment to other structures and tissues around the shoulder joint.
If the labrum is torn due to injury, the ball may slide partly out of the socket (a subluxation) or all of the way out of the socket, a dislocation.
Tearing the labrum
There are several types of ways a labrum can be torn and treatment options can vary due to the type of tear. The first type is when the labrum gets completely torn off of the shoulder bone which is usually associated with the dislocation (or subluxation) of the shoulder. The second type is tearing within the substance of the labrum itself due to fraying over time (more common for people >40 years of age). A third type of labrum tear is near the area where the biceps tendon attaches to the socket and is associated with injuring the biceps tendon.
Treatment and recovery
After having an MRI to view the tear, Gaborik underwent surgery in early June. Generally, to repair a labral tear, the surgeon needs to reattach the labrum to the rim of the socket.
Recovering from the injury and subsequent surgery is tricky as it depends on where the tear was located and how severe it was. Doctors say it takes 4-6 weeks for the labrum to re-attach itself to the rim of the bone and then another 4-6 weeks to start gathering strength. In order to not re-injure the tear, athletes need to be very careful and train cautiously and rehab the shoulder to a great extent.
Gaborik is supposed to be out for 6 months with his torn labrum and will probably miss the first two months of the regular season.