OKC Thunder forward Paul George reveals frightening nerve condition ‘Dead Foot’

OKC Thunder starting small forward Paul George recently revealed he is battling Peroneal Nerve Palsy or Dead Foot. The question is will the issue linger all season?

OKC Thunder small forward Paul George has dealt with copious injuries throughout his career. Most notably his right fibula compound fracture, he suffered in 2015 during a Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas.

His other injuries include a right hip contusion, an orthoscopic left knee procedure, and bursitis of the elbow, that causes the bursa sac to fill with fluid, which must subsequently be drained.

Now PG is dealing with a condition called Peroneal Nerve Palsy (PNP) or as he referred to it ‘Dead Foot’. Although George and the Thunder downplayed the seriousness of his PNP, the condition can be rather serious.

It is a more common injury than realized as NBA players encounters with the Peroneal Nerve and multiple medical sites reference. (see examples below).

As a side note, four of George’s five noteworthy injuries have occurred during his OKC Thunder tenure. Perhaps it is nothing more than coincidence, or it could be the result of playing in a more physical Western Conference, or maybe it is simply father time creeping up on PG.

Background on PNP

George told Erik Horne of the Oklahoman he began dealing with the PNP after Oklahoma City’s preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks on October 7th, 2018. Horne immediately linked to an article on the American Center for Spine and Neurosurgery website, it offered insight on the condition.

Peroneal nerve dysfunction is a type of peripheral neuropathy that is specific to the peroneal nerve. The peroneal nerve is branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower extremities. 

Further down the web page, the post discussed how PNP can cause weakness of the foot or ankles. Considering NBA players are at high risk for ankle sprains and other injuries on a nightly basis, George’s nerve issue should have the Thunder and their fan base on high alert.

How the Peroneal Nerve has impacted other NBA players

In recent history, at least two other NBA players have dealt with nerve problems, guard Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and former Houston Rocket and New Orleans Pelicans power forward Terrence Jones.

Wade had an encounter with a nerve issue during the 2013-14 season, it nearly forced him to miss the All-Star Game. Wade missed one regular season game due to Drop Foot, which is caused by a nerve problem, typically the Peroneal Nerve.

The other example of an NBA player dealing with the Peroneal Nerve occurred in 2014-15 when Terrence Jones was forced to miss 82 days or 41 games of NBA action.

Via the Houston Chronicle Jones went to a Houston area hospital seven or eight times for his nerve pain before ultimately being admitted for a five-night stay.

Later in the Chronicles post, Dr. Aziz Shaibani, a neurologist at St. Luke’s Episcopal and the Nerve and Muscle Center of Texas. offered further insight on how a Peroneal Nerve injury occurs:

“An injury to the Peroneal Nerve can happen a lot of different ways, The most common is a trauma to the fibula. But it can stem from the back or knee, too.”

This is where George’s case becomes perplexing, due to the fact he fractured his fibula in his right leg. Yet, his Peroneal Nerve is causing trouble in his left leg. However, George had his left knee scoped in May, perhaps the procedure addressed an issue with his MCL, a ligament located in the back of the knee.

I am not a doctor, despite gathering medical information from various outlets across the internet, but taking all the variables into account with George and the situation becomes flat-out frightening. Not because Oklahoma City signed George to a 4-year $137 million dollar contract this past summer, but on account of the possibility the condition could impact PG’s daily life.

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George has two daughters under the age of five, which is much bigger than the game of basketball. TI extends well wishes to George as he battles this bizarre nerve condition, here’s hoping it remains minor, rather than manifesting into a larger predicament.