A-Rod Heads to Surgery After All

First, Alex Rodriguez was having surgery to repair a cyst in his hip and would be out about 10 weeks. Then it turned out he had a labral tear as well, surgery for which would normally cost him 4-6 months. Then the Yankees and Alex decided to try draining the cyst and playing through the season with the injury, waiting until after for surgery. Now, we find out that Rodriguez is in fact going under the knife, having arthroscopic surgery to try and repair the labral tear.

However, the current estimate/best hope is that Rodriguez will only miss 6-9 weeks. How is that possible? Well, for one, the surgery is set just to repair the tear itself. The 4-6 month rehab from a typical version of this injury comes from issues with the hip and femur bones that result from the tear. For now, Alex Rodriguez will wait on that part of the surgery, if needed, until the off season.

However, it’s still not all candy hearts. According to Stephania Bell the normal rehab for just a labral repair is 10-16 weeks. Granted that A-Rod is a motivated professional athlete and thus, we would expect a shorter time frame, it is not unrealistic to expect that nine weeks may be optimistic, much less six. Another good point that Bell brings up is that A-Rod has already and will miss the rest of Spring Training with the surgery and rehab. How fast will he be able to jump right back into baseball?

All told, I think 10 weeks, about mid-May is the best reasonable case for the A-Rod we expect to come back. That’s about 25% of the season gone. If he does manage six weeks, he might only miss 15-20 games, but if there’s any delays in the rehab, or he takes more than a week to get back to full speed after recovering, we could be looking more at a June return. And if there are any major set backs, still possible, it could end up being a lost season entirely.

10 weeks was/is going to be a big blow to the Yankees. If it turns out to be longer than that, well, I don’t know in what looks to be a super tight AL East race.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

14 Responses to “A-Rod Heads to Surgery After All”

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  1. Shawn says:

    He tore his labia?

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  2. Jason says:

    I am guessing his absence will be about 7-8 weeks… Why??? 50 game “steroid suspension” would equal 7 weeks…

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  3. Kevin says:

    A) Bud’s not smart enough to pull that off, the way Stern did with Jordan, and B) that would be about the dumbest thing he could do. Would anyone, ANYONE, like to show me the tiniest piece of evidence that A-Rod used PEDs when such use was suspendible? Let’s try to get off that high horse without hurting ourselves too much, please.

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  4. Rich says:

    I’ll take the word of the top hip specialist in the country who actually went to med school over a physical therapist.

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    • Kyle Boddy says:

      Why? The surgeon/specialist isn’t the one responsible for rehabilitating the injury.

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      • Rich says:

        But he has a better understanding of the injury; he is almost certainly intimately familiar with the literature on rehabbing , and he has a disincentive to understate recovery times because his credibility is on the line.

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  5. ratfink says:

    A-Rod’s value for the season obviously takes a hit… but what do think this says about his value in a keeper league?

    Is this the first (or second) sign that he is beginning to wear down?

    Or is this a good opportunity to buy low on him and reap the rewards in the next 2-3 years? Specifically in AL-only keepers where the depth at 3B is thin?

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  6. ratfink says:

    Well, let me rephrase “buy low.” He’s normally untouchable, and now he can be had for Justin Morneau. I’m tempted to do it despite the age difference and 2009 production because there are now so many productive 1B in the AL.

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  7. mike says:

    “if he manages 6 weeks, he might only miss 15-20 games?” huh? that would be 36 games. disregard this blog.

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  8. mike says:

    disregard my post. including spring training, that would be about 15-20 games. from Will Carroll (baseball propectus injury guru):

    I was researching Marion Gaborik mid-week for my Puck Prospectus column, and I had to do a ton of work to try and figure out how a hip injury would affect a speedy winger. Little did I know that Rodriguez would end up with the same issue, and probably the same surgeon. While initial reports all focused on a reported cyst, that’s actually a result, not a cause. The cause is a torn labrum, resulting in irritation within the joint, and in this case, a cyst. The cyst was aspirated: they jammed a big needle in and sucked out the material inside. It’s painful and unpleasant, though I’m sure many of you are enjoying the image of Rodriguez and needles. It’s the cyst that’s causing the pain, and what sources are describing as a “slight instability,” which is likely more the result of the body’s compensation to avoid pain rather than an actual instability of the joint.

    The key here is that surgery is not a given. The aspiration may give enough relief that he can play through the season with only occasional setbacks and more aggressive monitoring. It could be that it gets better and a strengthening program adds to the stability, allowing him to only miss a few weeks. The danger is that the conservative measures might fail, which would push his return date back further than it would have been had they gone straight to surgery. We have to remember that the gamble of taking conservative measures comes with a high payoff. Let’s say for the sake of this example that Rodriguez will miss no time if the aspiration works, four weeks if he just needs the strengthening program, and twelve if he ends up having surgery. It’s not as if this is a 1-2-3 game; the Yankees will know quickly that the aspiration is working if there is a reduction in his symptoms. He’ll begin the strengthening program immediately; if he’s falling behind, or if there is no reduction in his symptoms, they’ll shift gears.

    It may seem as if hip injuries are becoming viral right now. Two other elite-level infielders, Mike Lowell and Chase Utley, are both recovering from labral repairs. We haven’t seen much of this in the past, with pitchers being the usual occasional sufferers. So what’s the root cause here, and why are we seeing this type of injury now? I’m still working on that question, and I hope to have a better answer for you soon; I’m just not willing to guess or speculate. What we do know is that surgery is likely, but the timing of the surgery is the key. Whether this plays out as it did with Utley, who played through some pain and had off-season surgery, or the way it did with Lowell, who was unable to deal with it and had to be shut down just before the playoffs, may end up being the difference for the Yankees.

    Rodriguez’s hip won’t let him play in the Classic, but beyond that, it’s a matter of how things play out, his pain tolerance, and the decisions made by the Yankees’ medical staff. Knowing their history with rehabs, I won’t bet against them. I’ll continue to follow this story closely, and I’m consulting with some experts on how this should play out.

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  9. Shotbod says:

    Well, I had labral repair done to my hip five years ago and is curious to see how Alex recover. I think the rehab is just as important as the surgery.It is the key. I was told that I would be back to myself in no time. Yet it is now five years later and I am still battling overcompensation issues as well as new issues that have popped up. It has changed my life. And by the way, a simple fall can cause a labral tear. I suspect mine was from a couple of falls, skiing and rollerblading. I biggest advice for Alex is to get the best rehab possible. And if he does have other issues like the knee or foot, he should keep that in mine as well. I wish that he would start a blog on his recovery. It would be so helpful to others going through this sick injury….

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  10. Dylan Titlow says:

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