Buchholz has a stress fracture in his spine
Could be out for the rest of the season...
Posted 01 August 2011 - 10:01 AM
It has been obvious for about a week now that something was wrong with Clay Buchholz beyond a muscle strain in his lower back. Day by day, a little more information comes out.
Theo Epstein danced around the subject yesterday and now comes word from Comcast's Sean McAdam that Buchholz has a stress fracture.
There is a possibility for a late-season comeback, but odds are that Buchholz is done until 2012.
These next two months will help the Red Sox determine their No. 3 starter in the playoffs, whether it's John Lackey, Erik Bedard or somebody else.
Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:20 AM
The treatment is going to be the same - rest. In rare circumstances the fracture can progress deeper into the lamina and then surgery to fuse the vertebra could be indicated. Right now this is the sort of injury that should be managed by the training staff and by physical therapists.
Now, what I really find interesting is that this announcement was made the morning after the trade deadline. Maybe we didn't want to look too anxious?
Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:47 AM
I don't remember if there was an earlier MRI to compare to. Obviously there's no way to go back in time and prove it, but this seems plausible to me.
One injury progressing into a different injury? I think anyone who's played any sports has been around that block a few times. Not usually anything quite as ominous sounding as "fractured spine," but then, who knows? "Routine MRI" isn't really in the rec league budget.
Seems to me the concern here could be the Red Sox medical staff, but we don't really have the information to judge. The question I have is more: Is this preventable for Buchholz in the future, or was it the inevitable result of someone with his wiry frame throwing 96mph?
I'm thinking there's no "maybe" about it.
Posted 01 August 2011 - 12:02 PM
The "cure" is resting the lower back, and particularly avoiding the activities that caused the injury. Like pitching... He should work with a physical therapist to find appropriate activities. They'll probably prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, like Motrin or other NSAIDs. He and Mrs. Buchholz should probably consider separate bedrooms for a while... Yet, THAT will aggravate the condition. Sometimes a backbrace is recommended. In rare circumstances people with stress fracture need surgery to fuse the vertebrae. Let's hope that rest does the trick.
Posted 01 August 2011 - 01:02 PM
Anni, I love ya, but have you seen his wife?
Anyway, this whole thing is very depressing. We all have incredibly high hopes for October, but this puts a serious dent in them. Hopefully Bedard's shoulder holds up and he's able to be a solid replacement.
Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:37 PM
BOSTON, MA - Red Sox Medical Director Dr. Tom Gill issued the following statement today in regards to right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz:
"Clay has a stress fracture in his lumbar spine. He is responding to treatments and his symptoms are improving. We have sent Clay to see three spine specialists, who all agree that the injury is stable and will heal on its own. Clay will follow a five-step structured rehabilitation program, which will progress as his symptoms allow. When completed, Clay will be cleared to resume throwing. There is currently no time frame on his return, and his return this season has not been ruled out."
Posted 02 August 2011 - 05:45 PM
Buchholz met with back specialist Dr. Thomas Watkins in Los Angeles yesterday, and he confirmed the stress reaction the Red Sox suspected after Buchholz threw a side session July 25. Still, he left the meeting feeling reassured, knowing that the injury wouldn't be career-ending. He sat in Watkins's office early yesterday morning and immediately noticed the jerseys hanging up of players Watkins had helped in the past -- from Josh Hamilton to Eli Manning.
"You just walk in there and you see how many [players he’s worked with]," Buchholz said. "He’s got jerseys hanging up of all the players that he’s helped and that gave me a sigh of relief too, knowing that he’s worked with a lot of athletes before.
It's interesting that this story refers to "stress reaction" and Dr. Gill's report says "stress fracture". As I wrote earlier, stress reaction can progress to stress fracture. It does sound like he has a fracture, though.
Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:30 PM
Sigh. Happily married Looies will have to take one for the team and volunteer as Mrs. Buchholz' personal bed warmer for the interim. No matter how long it takes for Clay to get healthy.