Stephania Bell explains Chris Bosh's injury

Speculating about Chris Bosh's injury when you don't know a thing about sports medicine or wear a white jacket is a bad idea. I don't have a degree in sports medicine. So I asked someone who does.

ESPN's Stephania Bell is the injury analyst on our staff and a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist and certified strength and conditioning specialist (fancy!). Given what we know about Bosh's injury (which is very little), I thought I'd ask her a few questions about what the heck an abdominal strain is and what it means for the Heat going forward.

Chris Bosh seemed to grab his groin after the injury, but it's being called an abdominal strain. What's the difference?

Bell: The groin is one of the inner-thigh adductor muscles and the lower abdominal muscle is the rectus -– the "six-pack" muscle -- but what's important is that they all attach to the pubic bone along with the oblique muscles. That’s the issue. If he partially tore the muscle down by where it attaches, that is a huge problem.

These things sound tricky, but can we get any sense of the severity based on how he looked after the injury?

It’s hard to say and I wouldn’t venture to guess on a diagnosis based entirely on video. You can’t tell the magnitude or degree, but the more interesting factor is the way he looked, the way he grabbed, it has the potential to be something that’s problematic going forward. When you see a guy grabbing at the muscle and going down to his knees, it certainly suggests it’s more than a mild partial tear. It’s not like it was only sore after the game. It took him to his knees and then he had to leave.

So what does a strain mean? What does it limit?

A strain could be anything, really -- mild, moderate or severe -- we don't know. It doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t try to play, but it would certainly compromise his ability to run, jump, anything that stretches that muscle, anything that requires power. If it’s down low near where it attaches, essentially every time that muscle contracts you’re going to get a sharp pain that makes it virtually impossible to power to your legs and your trunk can’t be strong. They’re going to be very open (with the timetable). That’s a fair thing to do right now, because usually there is a lot of uncertainty day-to-day. Can he function? Can he get on the court and be serviceable? They’re not wrong to leave it open.

Is this a sports hernia?

A sports hernia is a confusing term because it's not actually a hernia at all. A sports hernia is a tearing of the abdominal wall or tear of the groin. They wouldn’t necessarily use that term right now and it’s proper to call it an abdominal strain now, but sometimes we later hear it being called a sports hernia. Sometimes they need to be repaired. Sometimes a mild strain, depending on location, can heal on its own. Reason being most of the things they call sports hernias will not heal independently.