BILLINGS, Mont. – The most anticipated injury update of 2014 is a sprained left wrist.
Dr. Tandy Freeman said some of the medical terminology used to describe the injury in detail could get confusing, so to keep it simple and understandable he said J.B. Mauney has a “complicated wrist sprain.”
Mauney’s MRI, which was delayed a week, was overnighted to Freeman late last week for evaluation. He and the reigning World Champion spoke on Saturday afternoon and, according to Freeman, the key to evaluating the images was discerning new injuries from old injuries.
“He’s been riding bulls for a long time, so you have to be able to sort out what’s old, what’s new, what’s causing the problem now and what’s not,” Freeman explained.
Prior to the MRI, there was concern that Mauney had torn a ligament in his left hand.
“He has a partial tear, but it’s probably old,” Freeman confirmed. “It’s not a surgical issue and it’s not something we have to deal with.”
Freeman went on to explain, “He has what is referred to as a bone bruise in the radius, which is the big bone in the forearm that comes down to the wrist on the thumb side. A bone bruise is a euphemism. It’s a word we use to – a term – to describe something that really doesn’t exist. It’s actually a crack inside the bone. If you take an X-ray, you can’t see it. It means the bone has been hit hard enough that it deformed. The outer shell – the cortex of the bone – bent, but then bent back into place. When it bends – in order for it to deform – the stuff that’s inside the bone – the trabecular bone, which is honeycomb-like – it has to give. Unlike the outer cortex, it doesn’t have the strength to withstand what’s going on, so it kind of gets crushed a little bit and when the cortex pops back into place you can’t see a fracture because the cortex is intact. On an X-ray you can’t see a fracture, but that honeycomb part on the inside has been mashed together. If you get an MRI you can see that.”
Prior to the development of the MRI, a crack inside the bone couldn’t be seen or detected, so it was called a bone bruise to differentiate it from a fracture.
However, in Mauney’s case, it hurts like a broken bone; but it would be incorrect to say Mauney has a broken bone even though the bone has been injured.
“He doesn’t have a wrist fracture,” Freeman emphasized. “He has a wrist sprain. It’s a complicated wrist sprain.”
In addition to the bone bruise, Freeman said there’s fluid inside a little joint between the radius and the ulna.
“In all likelihood the fluid in that joint is from hurting his wrist because that’s something that causes pain,” Freeman said.
In all probability Mauney did not have the fluid prior to the injury, which means he did something that his radius was put under enough stress that the bone deformed—hit it, twisted it or landed on it.
According to Freeman, Mauney is “not even sure exactly what happened.”
Freeman said Mauney mostly likely sprained the joint at the same time he injured the radius bone – two weeks ago in Fresno, Calif.
J.B. Mauney is stepped on by Cool Moe Dee in Round 2 of the 2014 Table Mountain Casino Invitational in Fresno, Calif.
Bone bruises are normally sore for four to six weeks and Mauney indicated he’s already feeling better.
The next Built Ford Tough Series event is in two weeks in Des Moines, Iowa. It will be four weeks from the time he injured it, leading Freeman to suspect Mauney will be able to return as early as Des Moines and as late as the Last Cowboy Standing event in Las Vegas.
“He’s week-to-week starting with Des Moines,” Freeman said. “I expect we’ll see him in Des Moines.”
Prior to returning to competition, Mauney will be able to test his wrist in any one of a number of ways from getting on a drop barrel or bucking machine to simply taking his wrap to see how it feels to move it around.
He could also get on a practice bull.
In any case, he’ll know beforehand and, no, however he chooses to test his wrist it won’t be the same as getting on Bushwacker or any other bull. But he can still see if he has his grip strength back, mobility and whether he can get up over the top or up on his rope with his hand in the wrap.
“If he can do the things he has to do, he’ll have a pretty good idea of where he’s going to be,” Freeman concluded.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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