Suggestions from the field for return to sports participation following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: basketball

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Apr;42(4):326-36. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2012.4030. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


The purpose of this paper is to outline the final, functional phases of rehabilitation that address exercises, drills, and return-to-play criteria for the sport of basketball, following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. ACL injuries can be debilitating and affect the quality of life for recreational and elite athletes alike. Tears of the ACL are common in both male and female basketball players, with a higher incidence rate in females. Incidence of a retear to the existing graft or contralateral knee within 5 years of ACL reconstruction with patellar tendon autograft in young (less than 18 to 25 years of age), active basketball players can be as high as 52%. Reducing the number of ACL injuries or reinjury, of which there are an estimated 80 000 per year at an associated cost of over a billion dollars, can have significant potential long-term fiscal and health benefits. Following surgical reconstruction of the ACL, implementing a tailored rehabilitation protocol can ensure a successful return to sport. When searching the literature for such protocols, clinicians may struggle to find specific exercises, drills, and return-to-play criteria for particular sports. The intent of this manuscript is to present such a rehabilitation protocol for basketball.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / economics
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / rehabilitation*
  • Basketball / injuries
  • Basketball / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Knee Injuries / epidemiology
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Knee Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Patellar Ligament / transplantation
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult