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Cavs forward Dylan Windler on the road to recovery after a second injury to his left leg

The Athletic reports Cleveland Cavaliers forward Derek Windler underwent left knee surgery to address ongoing patellar tendinopathy concerns.

The Athletic spoke to Beth E. Shubin Stein, MD, sports medicine surgeon at HSS, who did not treat Windler, but commented on patellar tendinopathy injuries, the common cause for surgery and recovery time.

Patellar tendinopathy develops over time through wear and tear. Dr. Shubin Stein said it’s a common injury among jumping athletes like basketball players. It’s also a chronic injury, meaning people, and in particular basketball players, deal with the injury for an extended period of time.

According to Dr. Shubin Stein, if someone has tried all the most common treatments — modifying activity, wearing a brace and using ultrasound therapy — then the decision can be made to have surgery. “Surgery for patellar tendinopathy is usually one of two things,” she noted. “It can either be done open, or it can be done arthroscopically, but the aims of the surgery are the same. The aim is to debride the poor-quality tissue. When we talk about tendinopathy, there’s some tissue that is diseased. It has microscopic tears and has a fibrous tissue and it’s not normal, healthy tendon. And so the goal of the surgery is to go in and debride that diseased tendon.”

Dr. Shubin Stein said the typical recovery time for this type of surgery is about four months for an elite-level athlete. If Windler can recover and return to playing and does not have pain, he could make a full recovery. Dr. Shubin Stein explained, however, that surgery isn’t the perfect answer. Sometimes, the procedure doesn’t work and people still deal with patellar issues.

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