Progressing On-Court Rehabilitation After Injury: The Control-Chaos Continuum Adapted to Basketball

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2023 Sep;53(9):498–509. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2023.11981.


BACKGROUND: Sport-specific training is an integral component of returning to sport following injury. Frameworks designed to guide sport-specific rehabilitation need to integrate and adapt to the specific context of elite sport. The control-chaos continuum (CCC) is a flexible framework originally designed for on-pitch rehabilitation in elite football (soccer). The concepts underpinning the CCC transfer to other elite sport rehabilitation environments. CLINICAL QUESTION: How can practitioners and clinicians transfer the CCC to elite basketball, to support planning and return to sport? On-court rehabilitation is a critical sport-specific rehabilitation component of return to sport, yet there are no frameworks to guide practitioners when planning and delivering on-court rehabilitation. KEY RESULTS: Based on our experience working in the National Basketball Association, we report how the CCC framework can apply to elite basketball. We focus on the design and delivery of progressive training in the presence of injury in this basketball-specific edition of the CCC. Given the challenges when quantifying "load" in basketball, we encourage practitioners and clinicians to consider the qualitative aspects of performance such as skill, sport-specific movement, contact, and decision making. CLINICAL APPLICATION: The 5-phase framework describes training progression from high control, a return to on-court running, to high chaos, a return to "live" unrestricted basketball. The model can be adapted to both short- and long-term injuries based on injury and progression criteria. Strength and power "diagnostics" can be strategically implemented to enhance decision making throughout the return to sport continuum. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2023;53(9):1-12. Epub: 9 August 2023. doi:10.2519/jospt.2023.11981.

Keywords: basketball; control-chaos continuum; injury; rehabilitation; return to sport; sport-specific; strength and power diagnostics.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / rehabilitation
  • Basketball* / injuries
  • Humans
  • Return to Sport
  • Running*
  • Soccer* / injuries