The Minnesota Wild announced on Wednesday afternoon that defenseman Jared Spurgeon will be out “a minimum of four weeks” after suffering a partially torn right hamstring during Tuesday night’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
The hamstring is a group of three muscles — the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris — of the posterior (back) upper leg that run from the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis (the bone that you sit on) to either side of the tibia of the lower leg. Their main job is to flex the knee and extend the hip, exactly the opposite of the quadriceps muscle group.
They also control external (rotating the foot out) and internal (rotating the foot in) rotation of the lower leg.
Hamstring muscle injuries can occur in a couple of ways.
One involves a quick, forceful flexion of the hip when the knee is straight, a position in which the hamstring muscle group is on its greatest stretch. This injury is commonly found in dancers, punters in football and soccer players. The hamstrings control deceleration of the foot and leg during the end phase of kicking, which places a lot of stress on the muscle as — like previously mentioned — it is contracting when it is maximally stretched.
This type of hamstring strain most often affects the muscle and tendon fibers closest to the pelvis, making sitting and hip extension painful.
The other occurs during forceful contraction moments during activities such as sprinting or decelerating after sprinting. These injuries are more common in non-kicking, explosive sports. This occurs when the forces produced by the rapid change in position of the leg is too much for the muscle to overcome, causing it to give way. The muscle belly is most often affected.
Based on the video, it appears as though Spurgeon likely suffered the former type of injury as his leg was forced into hip flexion and knee extension when he crashed into the boards.
Due to the timeline for return given by the Wild and the terminology they used, it’s likely that Spurgeon suffered a grade 2 strain. This involves between 10-50 percent of the muscle fibers being torn and it usually takes between 4-to-8 weeks for a full recovery. A grade 1 injury involved less than 10% of fibers being torn and usually heal within a couple of weeks. Grade 3 injuries involve more than 50% of fibers being ruptured thus oftentimes making surgical intervention necessary. These injuries take months to fully recover.
The injury is a tough blow for the Wild, but, barring any setbacks, Spurgeon should be ready to go right around playoff time or at some point during the first round.