clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Smith Injury

Defensive End Dorian Smith suffered a sprained knee in Saturday's game at USC. The starting defensive line of Dorian Smith, Gerard Lee, and Curtis Coker has remained unchanged all year. A change will come this week, as Victor Butler will replace Dorian Smith on the left side. That's not a terrible loss for the Beavers- we rotate so many guys in and out at D-Line that it shouldn't be a problem.

We haven't been told what kind of knee sprain Dorian has, but lets take a look at the nature of a knee sprain.


A knee sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the knee. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.


Knee sprains may be caused by:

  • Forced twisting of the knee
  • Stopping suddenly while running
  • Shifting your weight while running or skiing
  • Landing awkwardly after jumping
  • A blow to the outer or inner side of the knee
  • A blow to the front of the knee while the knee is bent and the foot is firmly planted on the ground

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the knee
  • Swelling, redness, warmth, or bruising around the knee.
  • Decreased range of motion in the knee
  • Inability to stand on the affected leg
  • Tenderness where the injured ligament attaches to a bone in the knee
  • Swelling within the knee



The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your knee. Your knee will be examined to assess the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.

Tests may include:

  • X-rays--a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body, especially bone (to assess if any bones are broken)
  • MRI scan--a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures (to assess if a ligament has torn completely, less commonly used)

Knee sprains are graded according to their severity. In addition, the more ligaments that are involved means the more severe the injury.

  • Grade 1
    • Stretching and microtearing of ligament tissue
  • Grade 2
    • Partial tearing of ligament tissue
    • Mild instability of the joint when tested
  • Grade 3
    • Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissue
    • Significant instability of the joint



Treatment includes:

  • Rest-Avoid putting any pressure on your knee by not walking on that leg.
  • Ice--Apply ice or a cold pack to the knee for 15-20 minutes, 4 times a day for 2 days. This helps reduce pain and swelling. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
  • Compression--Wrap your knee in an elastic compression bandage (eg, Ace bandage). This will limit swelling and provide some support for your knee. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tight.
  • Elevation--Keep the injured knee raised above the level of your heart as much as possible for 24 hours or so. This will help drain fluid and reduce swelling. A couple of days of elevation may be recommended for severe sprains.
  • Medication--Ask your doctor if you have any questions about using medications. Drugs that are commonly used to reduce pain and inflammation include:
    • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
    • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Aspirin
  • Brace--You may need to wear a brace to immobilize your knee during recovery. Additionally, your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace when you return to sports.
  • Leg Cast--If you have a severe sprain, your may be directed to wear a short leg cast for 2-3 weeks.
  • Rehabilitation Exercises--Begin exercises to restore flexibility, range of motion, and strength in your knee as recommended by your doctor.
  • Surgery--Surgery may be recommended if a ligament is torn completely.

To reduce your risk of spraining a knee:

  • Warm up and stretch before exercise. Cool down and stretch after exercise.
  • Take a break from both sports and exercise when you feel tired.
  • Do exercises that strengthen the leg muscles. Exercises that improve proprioception (typically those involving balance) have been shown to reduce the risk of knee sprains in athletes.
  • Do regular stretching exercises of the muscles of the legs.
  • Learn the proper technique for exercise and sporting activities. This will decrease stress on all your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, including those around your knee.
  • Consult with a coach or athletic trainer about whether you (or your child) should use a knee brace designed to prevent ligament tears. There is some evidence that such braces can be useful, but not all experts agree on when the additional support should be used. Based on data available in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthcare providers do not prescribe braces for children .

Source: Aurora Health Care.

We hope for a safe and speedy recover. Hopefully we'll get some more information on the injury soon.