This was supposed to be Spencer Wright’s year to play a significant role in Centre College’s basketball success. The storied Division III program leads the NCAA with an 86% win percentage and the Indian Hill native was looking forward to earning significant time on the court. But an injury during the off-season turned out to be much worse than he originally expected, landing the 6’6” center on the bench. “I’ve had my share of injuries playing sports,” says Wright. “Broken fingers, a broken wrist, shoulder dislocations, and even knee injuries and most of the time I have been able to play through them. But this shoulder injury has been the most frustrating of all since I’ve had to miss the start of my junior season”.
Wright hurt his shoulder during a summer workout in the weight room. Bench pressing, he remembers hearing a “pop”. “At the time it didn’t keep me from doing the reps,” remembers Wright. “But as time went on during the summer, the pain got worse. The breaking point came when I tried to carry a light backpack to a pickup game and remember the pressure on my shoulder was killing me. Then during that game I put my arms up to block and another player drove into my shoulder and knocked it back. The pain was horrible and my arm went numb, so I knew it was really time to have it looked at.”
The decision of where to go was an easy one. A multi-sport athlete while in high school, Wright turned to a trusted name who took care of him in the past, Dr. Samer Hasan, an orthopaedic surgeon with Cincinnati SportsMedicine & Orthopaedic Center, who is fellowship trained in the treatment of complex shoulder injuries. “He was the first person I thought of,” says Wright. “He treated me before when I was hurt so I knew he’d do a great job.”
“Spencer tore the superior labrum, which is the top part of the soft cartilage ring that lines and deepens the glenoid, or socket of the shoulder joint,” describes Dr. Hasan. “This injury is often referred to as a SLAP – Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior – tear and can result from a sudden traction on the biceps tendon which originates at the superior labrum. His physical examination was highly suggestive of a SLAP tear and a magnetic resonance arthrogram confirmed the injury. I repaired Spencer’s SLAP tear arthroscopically using two suture anchors to suture the torn labrum back onto the superior glenoid.”
Spencer began a supervised physical therapy program within a couple of days after his surgery. “He progressed wonderfully through his rehabilitation, and is now continuing to work on strength and conditioning,” comments Dr. Hasan. “At his most recent follow-up visit, all physical examination findings that had been present pre-operatively had normalized and Spencer’s shoulder strength was excellent. I had no alternative but to clear him to resume playing collegiate basketball. Indeed, he recovered far ahead of schedule, but I shouldn’t be all that surprised – Spencer’s athleticism and motivation to return back to sport was never in doubt. I’m confident that he’ll be alright.”
Wright says Dr. Hasan always remained encouraging and optimistic during his recovery, keeping him motivated. “Dr. Hasan really understands athletes and how important returning to play means,” says Wright. “He originally said I was probably looking at returning in January, but I’m way ahead of schedule. He said I returned faster than any other athlete with this kind of injury. I am practicing with no limitations and my range of motion is great.
Wright’s patience and commitment to his recovery has paid off. He played in the Colonel’s fifth game of the season in a 78-62 win at Franklin, Indiana, bringing him a step closer to helping the team make a run for their fourth consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship. “Being a part of a college team and playing with your best friends is really what I like most about playing,” says Wright. “Honestly, because it had been my first week of full practice I didn’t think I would get to play. I’m very excited to be back in the fold of things and hopefully I can continue to participate and play. It’s very exciting to be back.”Share