UFC 137: Analyzing Georges St. Pierre's Knee Injury

Georges St. Pierre is out of UFC 137 with a knee injury. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Yesterday, UFC President Dana White announced on Twitter that welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre suffered an injury, forcing him to pull out of his UFC 137 title defense against Carlos Condit. The details are murky. Even in the information-saturated world of professional football, injury details are often vague, contradictory, or both. St. Pierre's injury is no different.

For instance, Firas Zahabi, St. Pierre's head trainer, describes the injury as a "bad sprain." UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, however, told the L.A. Times that St. Pierre had not torn his medial collateral ligament. The issue here is that a sprain, by definition, involves tearing of a ligament. I imagine what Fertitta likely means is that the MCL did not rupture, i.e. suffer a complete tear.

The other issue is the timetable for St. Pierre's return. The number being quoted by everyone from White to Fertitta to Zahabi is that St. Pierre will need four weeks to rehabilitate the injury. That would place the injury in the grade 1 category. Grade 1 sprains consist of damage to less than 10% of ligament fibers, and require a minimum of three weeks away from sports-related activity. While no sprain is a "good" sprain, Zahabi's description of it as a "bad sprain" is an exaggeration, unless the injury will keep the champion out for longer than a month.

The good news is that St. Pierre, with proper treatment, should expect a full recovery.

St. Pierre's actual timetable for a fight will be interesting as well. USA Today reports Dana White saying St. Pierre could return in two months. That seems awfully optimistic, and Zahabi told TSN that St. Pierre would need a month to heal and then another two months to prepare for a fight.

Given Zahabi's timeline, that would put the earliest date for St. Pierre-Condit sometime in the middle of January, though it's likely the UFC would want to schedule him on the February 4 Super Bowl show. That's the same date that Chael Sonnen wants to fight middleweight Anderson Silva. While it's unlikely the UFC would schedule St. Pierre and Silva on the same show, the prospect is highly intriguing.

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