Friday, March 6, 2009

A-Rod Prognosis from Former Jets Doctor: All Hope is Not Lost

Many doctors have been interviewed in recent days in order to analyze Alex Rodriguez’s situation as thoroughly as possible.

They have been questioned on countless topics ranging from a general prognosis to whether or not steroids were the catalyst.

While virtually every doctor has dismissed the involvement of steroids in the injury’s development, the similarities in opinion seem to end there.

Some surgeons have suggested immediate surgery and a four month recovery. Others have supported the Yankees stance, while also acknowledging the risks involved.

On the Boomer and Carton radio program on WFAN this morning, a hip specialist and former NFL surgeon was invited on for a consultation.

The specialist had worked for years in New York with the Jets, and was with the team during Boomer Esiason’s time there.

Expected to hear the same insight provided by dozens of doctors in the last twenty-four hours, I was surprised to hear a unique perspective.

According to the doctor, surgeries for torn hip labrums have only been practiced for the last 10-15 years in the sports world.

Not only did athletes play through labrum tears, but they were essentially forced to. It is something that was coped with for years in order to prolong a playing career.

The doctor feels that it is completely practical to expect a full season out of A-Rod, and one that is successful.

He agreed with other surgeons that an operation is inevitable in order to maximize performance for the remaining years of A-Rod’s contract.

It was also important for him to point out that the severity of the tear is important in analyzing each case, and playing through the pain can lead to a worsening of the injury.

However, he was encouraged by Rodriguez’s performance in the early games of spring training coupled with a feeling of tightness as opposed to shooting pain.

As a result, it is possible for A-Rod to follow the same path as Chase Utley did last season. Utley postponed hip surgery for a similar injury in order to capture a World Series ring.

Utley’s performance suffered down the stretch, but he was far from an automatic out. He remained a feared presence in the Phillies lineup, and was hitting .500 with a .600 OBP through game one of the World Series.

I have gone on record as saying that I would prefer A-Rod to immediately go under the knife.

The presence of a fully healthy Rodriguez after the All-Star break is much more menacing than a 75 percent healthy cleanup hitter for an entire season.

In the event of a setback, a postponed surgery could cause a ripple effect similar to what Jorge Posada is currently facing.

Regardless of my personal beliefs, it was very interesting and encouraging to hear from a surgeon who had watched professional athletes cope with this injury and its recovery for decades.

We will most likely know by opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16th if A-Rod and the Yankees have made the right choice.

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