Mark's Story

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Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group
Orthopedic Doctors
Physical, Hand & Aquatic Therapy

Two locations:

23456 Hawthorne Blvd.,
Suite 300
Torrance, CA 90505-4716

El Segundo

Phone: 310-316-6190
Fax: 310-540-7362

Mark Acres is a 50-year-old retired NBA basketball forward and center. He played for the Celtics and Magic before returning to live in the South Bay, where he grew up. He is 6' 9". Mark had bilateral shoulder arthroscopy surgery performed by board certified orthopedic surgeon Todd A. Shrader, M.D. Below, Mark talks about his injuries and experience with Dr. Shrader and the team at Torrance Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group. Click here to see Dr. Shrader's comments about Mark's case.

All parts of Mark's story are anecdotal and not meant to be taken as medical advice. See a doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health.

Talk about your time in the NBA.
It was an unbelievable experience. Back in the late eighties I played with Larry Bird and the gang so it was quite exciting. The fans were into it, on the road and at home, and it was pretty special.

What sports and activities are you passionate about today?
Basketball was always my main sport growing up. I went to Greece recently and played in a fifty-and-over tournament, and when I got back I officially retired from the sport. Now I'm riding my bike, lifting some weights, and doing some running on my own.

How did your shoulder problems start?
The first one was pretty bad—after playing some basketball it just started hurting. I took anti-inflammatories for a while, but they didn't work. I knew something wasn't quite right because I couldn't even shoot a basketball anymore or get my arm up past my chin. After three months of this I finally decided to go see Dr. Shrader because I could tell it wasn't getting better.

What did Dr. Shrader do?
Dr. Shrader took an MRI and found that there was more damage than I had suspected, and that if I didn't have surgery I'd never be able to function properly again. I ended up needing what's called the SLAP repair, which fixes a torn labrum and reattaches the rotator cuff and biceps.

How did you feel once you got your diagnosis and learned you had to have surgery?
I was a little disappointed. You never think that your body is going to break down, but when it does you sometimes need a little help.

Did Dr. Shrader discuss options with you besides surgery?
Physical therapy and injections wouldn't have fixed my problem. He was pretty frank about surgery being my only option because I had a lot of damage.

What did you like about Dr. Shrader while you were going through this?
I felt I could trust him. He came recommended by a good friend who is a doctor, and I also know that he is one of the top orthopedists in the South Bay.

Were you scared at all about having surgery?
I was. Any time you go under anesthesia, you just never know. I was just hoping that I would be back to close to full capacity and be able to lead a normal life.

How long was it before you could get into physical therapy?
For my first shoulder I had to wait longer than my second because there was more damage. It was at least two weeks before I could do a little bit of stretching and flexibility exercises. Over time the therapy stretched out my muscles and ligaments and helped give me back my range of motion. From there I graduated to light weights and eventually got back to my regular life.

How long did it take to get back to normal?
As soon as I finished the full duration of my physical therapy I was allowed to ride a bike and do other normal things. Before that there was the risk of having an accident and falling and re-injuring the newly healed shoulder. It was a couple months, a little longer for the first shoulder. Going in, Dr. Shrader had given me a time table, so I knew what to expect for each of my shoulders to recover.

How do your shoulders feel today?
They feel great. I can do everything I need to do and I am pain free. I got my range of motion back and at least 95% of function on both.

What advice would you give to people in a similar situation?
Get yourself an MRI immediately. That takes all the guess-work out of everything and then you'll know whether you need surgery or not.

Would you recommend Dr. Shrader to other people?
I would highly recommend him. He did a great job for me. He did my surgery at Coast Surgery Center, which feels like a home away from home. It's a very nice building with nice landscaping, shrubs, and trees, and it's pretty relaxing. It doesn't feel like you're in a hospital. I also like his office with the physical therapy right there at Skypark and Madison. Everyone there was always very helpful and friendly, no doubt about that. They try to get you in and get you out according to your time schedule.

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