Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Mateen Cleaves, Point Guard for the Michigan State Spartans

WebMD Feature

NAME: Mateen Cleaves
TEAM: Michigan State Spartans
POSITION: Point Guard
INJURY: Stress Fracture


Theo Ratliff, Philadelphia 76ers; Latrell Sprewell, New York Knicks; Kristen Maloney, gymnast; Anna Kournikova, tennis; Courtney Alexander, Fresno State; Carl Everett, Houston Astros


Cleaves injured his right foot in early October, and, after three weeks of soreness and discomfort, he had it examined. The medical staff found that he had a serious stress fracture and would need surgery. He will likely miss 8-12 weeks. Most cases of stress fracture are less serious and require far less recovery time.


Cleaves is a senior at Michigan State. The 6'2", 195-pound guard is the nation's only returning All-American. He was named the Blue Ribbon Preseason Player of the Year. During the 1998-1999 season, he led the Spartans to the Final Four and set a Big 10 record with 264 assists in 38 games. He is also the reigning Big 10 MVP, an award he's won twice. After this season, he will likely be taken in the top 10 of the NBA draft.


A stress fracture occurs when bone begins to break down. It is an incomplete break of the bone. The injury is caused by repeated micro-traumas to a single area and can be a result of weight bearing, repeated impact, or one isolated impact. Stress fractures occur most often in the tibia (shin bone) and the feet.


Stress fractures are diagnosed using a combination of clinical exams, X-ray studies, and MRIs. In some cases, the injury may not show up on an X-ray because it is either too small or because it has not yet done enough damage to the bone to be evident.


Treatment involves keeping the patient from placing weight on the affected area for a varying period of time. After this, the athlete should slowly increase his workout regiment until he is back to full strength. Occasionally, as in Cleaves' case, surgery is necessary. He had a bone graft and a pin inserted into his foot. Because he required surgery, he will require more recovery time.


There is no way to prevent stress fractures.


Recovery consists of slowly increasing physical therapy to regain strength in the area; the bone heals on its own. The key to successful recovery is patience. If the athlete returns too soon, he may reinjure the same area. Therapy includes both flexibility and strengthening exercises. In most cases, the athlete is sidelined for 3-6 weeks.


Once an athlete returns to competition -- assuming that the injury is completely healed -- he should have no greater risk of reinjury than any other athlete. Cleaves should be able to play pain-free when he returns.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
7 most effective exercises
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
Taylor Lautner