It's definitely not party time in Larry Wayne's world. Photo Credit: Keith Allison
In a shocking turn of events (I hope you’re sitting down for this), Chipper Jones and Grady Sizemore are injured! I wish I was their physical therapist, these two guys could single-handedly keep my office in business. The fact that these guys suffered injuries should surprise no one; they have medical charts the size of Webster’s Dictionary. What is worth commenting on, however, is what to expect in terms of recovery time and future production. That’s where I come in. Is there a better fantasy sports injury analyst out there than me? NO. So pay attention, I’m about to educate you.
Chipper Jones has missed the last couple games with pain in his right knee, which is not the knee he had off-season surgery on. Precautionary MRI showed a “slight meniscus tear” per Rotoworld. Jones was given an injection to the knee and will rest the new few days in hopes that the soreness subsides. If the soreness persists, he will undergo an arthroscopic procedure to clean the joint out. The timetables I’m reading have him missing anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. I’m here to tell you that if he has surgery, it will probably be longer.
The meniscus is a cartilage-like structure that helps reduce friction and disperse pressure through the knee joint, i.e. it’s a shock absorber between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). Every time you bear weight through your legs, the menisci (that’s plural for meniscus for you less educated readers, a.k.a. dumbasses) is put under stress. The older you get, the more wear and tear the menisci endure and the more likely they are to be injured . Pounding (running), deep bending (squatting or kneeling) or twisting (cutting) activities all can stress and injure the meniscus as well. Chipper is a couple birthdays away from the nursing home and his profession requires a lot of pounding, bending and twisting activities, thus it’s no surprise he’s got a torn meniscus.
The good news is that the MRI shows only a small tear, which isn't that big a deal so long as the imaging is accurate. A small tear can often be treated conservatively with rest, injection and rehab. Unfortunately, with Chipper being a professional baseball player, he’s going to aggravate the injury by continuing to play with it, and the big concern is that he’ll continue to play and tear the meniscus further. Even if he doesn't cause further damage, if he rests and returns to action, it’s likely the issue continues to creep up from time to time all season long making him an unreliable day to day option (more so than usual anyway). If he has surgery to clean out the small tear he’d be looking at more of a 4-6 week recovery than the two weeks being reported, because Chipper, as I may have mentioned, is OLD. Athletes in their 20’s have a chance to return in two weeks, not middle aged men. If Chipper continues to play and the tear worsens to the point where it’ll require reconstruction instead of a debridement (cleanup), he (and your fantasy team if you own him) will be screwed. A meniscus REPAIR has a 4-6 month recovery time, meaning his season (and at 39 years old, possibly career) will be over. If I own Chipper and am counting on a significant contribution to my team this season, I’m hoping he goes under the knife ASAP to fix the issue.
Prediction: Chipper rests for the next two days, still notes some soreness and they decide to perform a scope cleanup surgery. He misses the next four or so weeks, returning mid-June. With 3B being a bit thin this year and plenty of injuries to go around, it’s worth stashing Chipper if you have a DL spot, when healthy he’s arguably a top 10-12 option sitting in that cushy 3-hole in the Braves lineup.
Grady Sizemore has what’s being called a “bone bruise” in his right knee, which is not his surgically repaired knee, and hasn't played since May 10th because of it. Cleveland’s training staff is saying the DL move is merely precautionary because Grady has some lingering soreness that hasn't dissipated yet with rest and treatment. Why isn't the soreness gone yet? Probably from banging every broad in Cleveland, Grady’s ladies can’t get enough. Keep it in your pants for now Grady, too much stress on your knees man. Either that or let the chick do the work! His MRI results showed the bruise under the knee cap, not in the knee joint itself, which is extremely fortunate for Sizemore and his owners (and the ladies) as swelling under the patella is generally much less ominous than bruising inside the knee joint. An athlete with such an injury should be expected to return to action in 10-14 days depending on the response to treatment, so while we've been through this with Sizemore in the past, where seemingly insignificant injuries snowballed into full blown reconstructive surgery, I tend to believe the training staff here. It’s not a big deal. Yet.
Prediction: Sizemore returns from the DL when eligible and continues to be a productive hitter, just don’t expect much in the SB department.
A few quick injury notes:
Brandon Beachy landed on the DL with an oblique strain, which the Braves are calling a fairly severe variety with Beachy feeling a tearing sensation. That can’t be good. With Beachy being very young, oblique injuries being notoriously slow to heal and the Braves having a ridiculous wealth of riches in regards to young and talented SP, there’s no reason to rush Beachy back. The reports call for four weeks, I’m going to anticipate more of a 6-8 week timetable, with a rehab stint necessary and always the chance a setback occurs (Ryan Zimmerman anyone?). Dude has been great so far, as a rookie we can expect an innings cap on him, but as long as he returns healthy this might actually help his value in H2H leagues as he won’t reach his innings cap until later in the season, a.k.a. fantasy playoff time. Stash him if you can, if you don’t then you’re a jerkoff.
David Wright has a “stress fracture of the lower back” confirmed via MRI, which explains the back pain he’s been dealing with since mid-April. “Lower back” is not very specific so it’s hard to estimate a timetable here. There are multiple boney structures in your back and it’s never good to have a fracture in any of them. Wright is young and fit and stress fractures can be very minor issues that sound worse than they are. He should bounce back from this OK, but he’s seeking a second opinion and he’ll proceed from there. While the Mets say it’s hopeful he’ll avoid a DL stint and just need ten days of rest, I fully expect him to be placed on the DL following the 2nd opinion; he’s the franchise player, they won’t monkey around with him. Of course this is the Mets so there’s a decent chance they’ll screw this up somehow. I’d anticipate him missing 2-4 weeks depending on what information surfaces following the second opinion.
John Lackey was placed on the DL with a right elbow strain. Uh oh. It’s obvious he’s been terrible so far this year and his velocity is down. Could this be more of a phantom “injury” where they sit the guy down a bit and get him some extra minor league innings to figure things out (Aroldis Chapman)? Maybe. Could this be the early signs of a serious throwing arm injury? Maybe. Should you rely on John Lackey being a productive part of your fantasy baseball team’s rotation? Absolutely not.
That’s all I got for tonight kids, as always if you have an injury question I didn't discuss you can leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it. I might not have all the answers, but I certainly think I do!