Jeff Teague Says He Played with Torn Patella in Deleted Instagram

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2016

May 6, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the first half in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague played the entire 2015-16 season with a torn patellar tendon, according to two now-deleted posts on his Instagram account. 

Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com reported the injury was described as a partial tear. It was determined he did not need surgery. 

"They won't tell ya'll but I played with a tear in my patella the whole year and could barely jump or stop but it's coo [sic] got that taken care [sic]," Teague posted, per Wendy Adams of 92.9 The Game. 

Teague averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game in 2015-16. He played in 79 of Atlanta's 82 regular-season games and all 10 of its playoff contests. His numbers took a noticeable decline after his 2014-15 All-Star campaign, and he shot just 34.1 percent in Atlanta's conference semifinals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The patellar tendon attaches the kneecap to the tibia. Teague's recovery time will depend on the severity of the injury. Mazzeo reported he's expected back "soon" but did not offer a timetable. 

A torn patellar would have been impossible to play through, as it would have left his kneecap without stability. These injuries are uncommon for NBA players or athletes in general. 

In writing about a ruptured patella suffered by Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, ESPN.com's Stephania Bell highlighted the difficulty that athletes face in recovery:

Strengthening has to be implemented gradually, however, so as not to overload and risk damaging the healing tendon. Even upon achieving a high level of function, the athlete is often left with some measure of residual weakness. While it may be subtle in appearance to the naked eye, it can show up in the form of diminished power, speed and explosiveness—qualities highly dependent, in part, on the function of the quadriceps and consequently the patellar tendon.

Severity here is paramount. Because Teague did not suffer a full patellar rupture, he's not going to face the same obstacles. The fact he did not need surgery is especially promising. But the Hawks kept Teague on the floor throughout the season and did not disclose much about his status; the only games he missed were due to an ankle injury in November.

It's unclear what this means about the rumored discussions between the Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers about swapping Teague and center Nerlens Noel. Shams Charania of The Vertical reported the news but said no agreement was "imminent." Perhaps the Sixers are monitoring Teague's recovery before making the deal; it's unlikely Atlanta would have tried to spark discussions without disclosing the injury. Philly would have discovered the injury in the post-trade physical, anyway.

Even if Philly knew, it calls its reasoning into question even more. Teague is a soon-to-be-expiring contract who tops out somewhere between the 15th and 20th-best point guard in the league. Noel is 22 years old and under team control for the foreseeable future. 

This should be enough to quiet those talks for now.

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter. 

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