Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Doctor and The Pitcher

Dr. Joseph Hecht, MD (AKA “Cubster”), the resident orthopedic surgeon over at The Cub Reporter has posted an excellent analysis of Mark Prior’s surgery. In the past, Dr. Hecht has been somewhat critical of Prior because he constantly has health issues, but invariably the doctors don’t find anything wrong with him. Considering the outcome of Prior’s surgery, I think Dr. Hecht may be changing his attitude toward Prior.

Dr. Hecht had this to say about the long overdue diagnosis:

My comment and questions: Something doesn’t mesh here. Why did one of the most highly regarded baseball pitchers since starring in college have to go through several wasted seasons without knowing what was wrong? Now we have a diagnosis, well actually three diagnoses. It seems like the saddest part of the problem was that it took much too long to finally get to this point. Why does this only happen to the Cubs?”

I echo Dr. Hecht’s questions and frustration. For at least two years (and possibly four) Mark Prior has been complaining of pain in his shoulder, and his velocity and effectiveness have gone out the window. Even as recently as two weeks ago, two different doctors recommended that Prior just rest and rehab his shoulder. When Dr. Andrews examined Prior, he didn’t find anything definitively wrong, but felt that exploratory arthroscopic surgery was in order. Why couldn’t anyone diagnose the problem and why didn’t someone suggest the surgery sooner?

I also found it interesting that Dr. Hecht believes Prior’s injury probably happened in 2003 when Prior collided with then-Braves second baseman Marcus Giles. Dr. Hecht makes this speculation based on the nature and extent of the injury Prior was diagnosed with. If the good doctor is correct, it just adds to my questions and frustrations over why all of this took so long.

Dr. Hecht’s entire article can be found here.


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