Pat Connaughton is out with a right 4th metacarpal fracture.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 11, 2022
He will not return tonight.
The TNT broadcast showed a brief replay of the play where the injury occurred; Connaughton was matched up against Chris Paul and he knocked his hand against Paul’s forearm. Technically speaking, it could have been a foul! Pat knew that something was wrong, as he left the game and went to the locker room, not to return.
Here is the play that Budenholzer said caused Connaughton's injury (both normal speed and 1/4 speed): pic.twitter.com/mNm1D9C9EF— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) February 11, 2022
What is a fourth metacarpal? I’m not a doctor so I’m not sure, but I bet you don’t want to fracture it! The fact that it’s on Pat’s shooting hand is bad enough, but the real question becomes whether or not the fracture requires surgery to properly heal. BlogFather Frank Madden found a resource (of course he did, already!) that might help us better understand how long Connaughton may be out for.
To get a sense of what Pat Connaughton’s prognosis might look like, here’s a story from 2015 by the intrepid @InStreetClothes on fourth metacarpal fractures — average NBA player missed 17 games. https://t.co/ecUGbYKevy— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) February 11, 2022
The necessary recovery time normally depends on multiple factors, including the specific metacarpal fractured. Breaks to the second and third metacarpals, located below the pointer and middle fingers, are easier to manage as they are anchored to the bones of the wrist and as a result are largely immobile. The fourth and the fifth metacarpals, located beneath the ring and pinkie fingers respectively, are more mobile in order to allow motion at the wrist and pinkie. The mobility here often necessitates additional healing time.
With the All Star break still over a week away, Connaughton can be expected to miss anywhere between 10-20 games at this point, meaning he could return shortly before the playoffs. But this is before any additional details are known about the injury. Just because we know where it is doesn’t mean we know how bad it is, or how the recovery will go. The Milwaukee Bucks have a world-class medical staff, so here’s hoping that Pat gets the right solution and recovers fully. Get well soon, Pat, the Bucks need you!