Pete Abraham has a very good, detailed piece on A-Rod’s hip injury. Having consulted one Dr. Robert Buly, and orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hips (and a Yankees fan), Abraham has determined what I also believe should occur–A-Rod should have surgery. I’ll include his post at length below.
Only last week, Dr. Buly presented back-to-back papers on treating this very injury with Dr. Marc Philippon, the surgeon treating Alex Rodriguez.
According to Dr. Buly, A-Rod likely has an impingement in his hip socket, a common injury for athletes. It comes from the femoral bone hitting the rim of the socket. The labrum, he said, is like a rubber gasket around the socket. A torn labrum is a symptom of the impingement.
A cyst such as the one A-Rod is typical in these cases. “That’s an indication something has gone bad with the hip,” Dr. Buly said.
Dr. Buly said it is “not unreasonable” to try rest and rehab. “But at some point you have to bite the bullet and have the surgery. It’s going to get progressively worse and for the patient, it’s pretty miserable,” he said.
A-Rod’s ability to play depends on the size of the tear and how quickly it gets larger. At some point, surgery will be needed. If it is only soft tissue, the recovery time is six to eight weeks. If bone must be repaired, it would take three to four months.
Brian Cashman indicated today that surgery would knock A-Rod out for four months, so it is likely he has some sort of bone deformity. This comes from wear and tear or some sort of anatomical abnormality.
Dr. Buly, who is a Yankees fan, said A-Rod would soon have trouble pivoting or flexing. Running, at least at first, will not be a problem.
Only time will tell how the Yankees handle this. But keep this in mind: Cashman said all last season that Jorge Posada’s torn labrum could be treated with rest and rehab. Then on July 30, as Posada underwent surgery, they made a surprise trade for Pudge Rodriguez.
I would expect the same in this case. What is the point of babying A-Rod through the season only to see him break down in September and October? Make a trade now, get the surgery and perhaps he returns by the All-Star break.
The rest-and-rehab approach didn’t work for Posada, and I really doubt it will for A-Rod. It’s possible, and apparently Utley did, but the Yanks have a lot tied up in A-Rod. Plus, as Pete Abe points out, this is a degenerative injury; it won’t stay as it is. It’s simply a matter of at what rate the injury worsens. I see no reason why the Yanks should chance it, again, with what seems to be a major labrum injury to a crucial player. The team has fill-in options within and outside the organization, though none would produce what A-Rod would. Still, A-Rod’s missing the first half of the season but returning healthy around or after the break would be far more preferable to his breaking down in the second half.
[This is a good complementary piece from The New York Times expressing a range of medical opinions on the injury that A-Rod has.]