I’m no doctor, but see if this makes any sense …..
A) Per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a “sprain” is a stretch and/or TEAR of a ligament.
B) “Tommy John” surgery is often required when pitchers TEAR the ulnar collateral ligaments in their elbows.
Digest all that and then ask yourself ….. How come nobody is making mention of the possibility that Matsuzaka will need a TJ? Is it because the pictures don’t show a tear? But if that is the case, how come the Sox chose to describe the injury as a sprain rather than a strain? Does that suggest there is some tearing but it isn’t yet torn?
My point is when you add “sprain” to “elbow,” you often end up with TJ. And that would effectively end Daisuke’s career in Boston. Given that possibility, I am wondering why nobody is talking this up?
The Globe’s Pete Abraham was asked about this possibility in a chat today and he indicated that the impression he got was this was not a season-ender. And if that is the vibe that the Sox are sending, I guess it means we will be seeing Matsuzaka again this year.
But I’m still hung up on the Sox use of the word sprain. After all, that is how they described Junichi Tazawa’s elbow injury last March and he has spent the last 13 months coming back from TJ. Is it inconceivable that the same fate lies ahead for Matsuzaka?
The “optimist” would say no. After all, Matsuzaka has been throwing without much admitted pain and that should prove the elbow just needs some rest. But that doesn’t do it for me as plenty of guys have needed TJ without having doubled over in pain. Plus, it seems like the Sox are being a bit coy on this one as no briefing accompanied the news. I’m not saying they are being duplicitous in any way but it strikes me that transparency isn’t exactly running at an all-time high on this one.
Perhaps I will be proven wrong. And maybe all this gets explained this afternoon. But the contrarian in me is bracing for the dreaded ….. “Daisuke wanted another opinion so he is headed for Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews.” Once that news hits, or should I say “if it hits,” you might as well say goodbye to Matsuzaka because that will be the last time you see him pitch in Boston.
UPDATE: This is the Sox statement on Matsuzaka: “His examination is consistent with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, and strain to his common flexor mass. An MRI was obtained which confirmed these exam findings. He will be re-examined in two weeks.”
Does this answer ANYTHING? My one suggestion for Daisuke … the best connection to Birmingham in through Charlotte, not Atlanta.
Final Thought: This is what Francona had to say this afternoon, per WEEI …
Matsuzaka won’t throw at least until his exam in two weeks, and added that it’s “probably ambitious he will throw then.” He added that the Sox are somewhat relieved to have diagnosed the injury at a time when it remains “manageable,” before getting more serious.
Francona is the KING of the …. “the really good news is we caught it in time” line. If anyone out there wants to buy this iteration, I will short it to you all day!