Having dislocated my left patella before, I can relate somewhat to Shaun's injury. That being said, the way that it happened to Shaun was particularly gruesome and, not surprisingly, damaging. Another, similarly built Shawn (Shawn Bradley) once dislocated his patella and called it the most painful experience of his life. I can certainly say the same for myself.

The way in which the injury occurs is the key to both the amount of pain endured as well as the repercussions. When I dislocated mine, I was jumping up and backwards. As it dislocated, I instinctively froze and broke my fibula on landing. However, I didn't land on the leg per se. I landed on my ass with the leg out. I have experienced subluxation (partial dislocation) of one or the other of my kneecaps at least twenty times of significance. The last of these, on my right knee, was the most damning - even more so than when I fully dislocated my kneecap. This time was more like what happened to Shaun. I was attempting a jump karate kick, but as I landed on my right leg, the outer muscles of my quadriceps grabbed the patella (which is particularly unstable in my case - and most likely Shaun's - because it is too high to fit snugly in the natural groove and hence prone to extracurricular movement) and jerked it outward.

The problem with the subluxation or dislocation occurring upon landing is obviously the physics of the body's mass acting upon two long bones (the femur and tibia/fibula) that now have nothing joining them. Quite honestly, outcomes such as the severing of the femoral artery and other complications which would necessitate amputation are not out of the question. I know this happened to a college football player some years back. As Shaun's patella clearly dislocated upon impact, tremendous force was brought to bear immediately thereafter on an already-compromised joint. I presume this is when the massive ligament tears occurred. While I feel like in a way it could have been worse for him, it certainly has the look of a career-ending injury.

Four years after my last subluxation, my right, naturally dominant leg is still atrophied, and after I jog, my left leg feels disproportionately sore because it bears more of the weight. And I didn't tear ANY of my ligaments. On a final note, I read that some trainer claimed not to have seen an injury occur like this ( i.e., without contact, etc.) in 25 years. Others, including some in this thread, have called it a freak injury. I could not disagree more. Shaun easily could have gone his entire career without this happening, but as we all know this wasn't even the first time for him. Between a naturally high patella, a frame without a lot of muscular support and an ability to leap four feet in the air, this was more likely a matter of time. I love the game of basketball, but I'm constantly amazed at how INfrequently knee subluxations and dislocations occur. I wish Shaun's accident hadn't proven my fears right. More than anything, I hope someday he's able to walk and run somewhat normally, whether or not he ever suits up in an NBA uniform again.