SportsDoc Update: Jake Murphy 10/11/2013
1280 The Zone - October 11th, 2013
The most common fracture that would fit with Murphy's situation would be a Navicular fracture. It is a small bone in the wrist that often gets cracked in a fall and feels like just a bad sprain. Many athletes are able to keep playing with it cracked sometimes for weeks before they get it checked. Because it heals poorly and we now have minimally invasive ways to surgically fix them, surgery is often done using a small screw. While it does need protection with a cast while it heals, one can certainly play with a padded cast on the wrist while it heals without taking undo risk with the healing process.
While that might not be what Murphy has specifically, the fact that it didn't need immediate surgery would indicate it wasn't too serious. That they are saying he can't play is usually coming from the doctor who did it. Some physicians are by nature conservative and maybe not caring as much about whether Murphy plays or not. If he was my kid or was him, I'd want to make sure all options about playability had been discussed and get another opinion as to whether it could be casted and padded and he could continue to play. He is a great player and should have that opportunity if safely and reasonably possible. One could say there might some liability issues, but the individual should be able to make that choice.
On a personal note, over my thirty years of doing Sports Medicine, I have had countless athletes who have been told their season is over with a wrist or hand fracture, and with appropriate casting, bracing, or splinting we've been able to get them back on the playing field. There hasn't been once where there has been a failure to heal or any compromise in the care of the injury. It usually just takes a little thought and effort to come up with the best way to protect the injury so the athlete can continue to safely play while it heals.