What could Cavaliers star Collin Sexton's recovery window look like? An orthopedic expert weighs in

Dr. Struan H. Coleman, MD, Ph.D., sports medicine surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and medical consultant for the New York Mets shares his insight.

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When the news broke that Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton was sidelined with a torn meniscus in his left knee, it felt like a gut punch for both the team and its fans. Sexton is currently leading Cleveland in scoring, chipping in 16.0 points per game this season. But, more importantly, Sexton is one of the key cultural leaders for the Cavaliers this season and was largely responsible for the team's hot start to the season.

“Hearing that for anybody, but especially Collin, we know how much he loves this game, puts a lot of energy in his life into it, so seeing him is just devastating for me," said Cleveland big man Jarrett Allen. "As a friend, as a teammate, seeing him go down, I know he wants to be out here with us. We’re losing a lot losing in him. As a person, as a competitor, he’s always out here giving it his all and that forces us to give it our all. We want to match his energy. He’s definitely going to be missed.”

In their first game without Sexton, the Cavaliers fell to the Washington Wizards 97-94. For the better part of the game, Cleveland was able to hang tough with Washington and contain superstar shooting guard Bradley Beal. But, some defensive miscues at the end are what ultimately spelled the Cavaliers' fate. That, and the fact that the offense bogged down at times in the second half as well. Having a player like Sexton, who is an elite three-level scorer and can get a bucket at will, would have certainly helped.

There's no rest for the weary nor any sympathy for Cleveland throughout the rest of the NBA. Sure, many feel bad for Sexton and the fact that the Cavaliers are missing him but opponents are going to try and put Cleveland in their place any given night. So, for now, the Cavaliers have to just try their best to weather the storm without Sexton on the hardwood with them. But, things may not seem as dire as it initially seems.

After the team's loss to the Wizards, Sexton was spotted by yours truly from the press box on the court putting up standstill shots in different spots from the floor.

See @AmNotEvan's post on Twitter.

Seeing this might raise alarm with some fans wanting the young star to rest and recover and endear him even more to plenty of others. But, it actually might be an early encouraging sign in Sexton's recovery.

"It's likely that he has a small bone bruise and a small meniscus tear, and they're seeing if they can get him back without surgery," said Dr. Struan H.Coleman, MD, Ph.D., sports medicine surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and medical consultant for the New York Mets. "That's a good sign that he was on the court shooting baskets. That suggests to me that they're going to try to treat this non-operatively or they're testing him to see if they can. So he might be back in about four weeks.

"We obviously don't have a crystal ball, but here's what I would say about that medical team, which I know. They're a great team, and they are not going to do anything to jeopardize his ability to play in the short term or the long term. So, they're going to do the right thing for him so that it gets him back, in the short term, if possible, and certainly protect his knee and allow him to have his full career in the long term."

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton has been sidelined with a torn left meniscus. It's currently unknown when he'll return to the court but so far, things seem promising.

According to Coleman, more often than not it's not just the meniscal tear itself that sidelines athletes but rather injuries that go hand in hand with the tear. Some of the most common include bone bruises, where the recovery varies based on the severity, to a sprained MCL, which can take weeks to months to recover from, to even a torn ACL, which would obviously require surgery and would be season-ending for Sexton.

Without a full scope of how badly Sexton injured his meniscus, and whether or not this is a new tear, he cannot give a firm timetable on his recovery. Instead, he says that if he does not require surgery, Sexton could be back in 4 to 6 weeks. It would be the same timeframe if Sexton elects to have the torn section removed. If he has it repaired, meanwhile, Sexton is likely done for the remainder of Cleveland's season.

If you factor that in on top of the injuries that go along with Sexton's meniscal tear, we now have a clearer idea of what his road to a full recovery looks like for him. But, the fact that Sexton was able to walk under his own power and put up shots, even with a slight limp, despite dealing with a meniscal injury is again encouraging to Coleman. It's not fully known whether or not Sexton will still be the same player when he returns but the Cavaliers' medical staff will do everything to ensure it happens.

"Medicine is not an exact science, but this medical team is an excellent medical team," said Coleman. "They're going to protect him fully. And that's the goal of the medical team. The goal of the medical team doctor is to protect the player. That's your job. And so they're not going to let him get back until he is a hundred percent ready and doesn't risk further injury or damage to the knee."

While there isn't a clear window into when Sexton will be back on the court, it appears, for now, that fans should remain optimistic about his recovery. For now, Cleveland's medical staff will work closely with Sexton to ensure that he makes a full recovery and that he returns to the court when his knee is ready. So that means there will likely be more standstill shooting drills that progress towards heavier work over the next several weeks. This should hopefully lead to wonderful news for the Cavaliers and their fans and it softens the blow of losing Sexton quite a bit.

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