Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mark Prior Really is Injured

The verdict is in on Mark Prior and as it turns out, he really is hurt. As I documented previously, Prior’s many visits to the DL (9 times over 6 years) have been attributed by some to nothing more than a lack of toughness on Prior’s part. But yesterday, Dr. James Andrews performed arthroscopic surgery on Prior’s shoulder and found three problem areas.

First, Andrews found a tear in Prior’s labrum. Considering the fact that surgery was not recommended until fairly recently, my guess is that the tear was small. As I understand, a torn labrum, especially a small tear, can be difficult to detect and often does not show up on an MRI.

Second, Andrews tightened up Prior’s shoulder capsule. You’ll recall that Prior was previously diagnosed with a loose shoulder. Apparently, it was looser that you would expect even for a pitcher and Andrews tightened up the capsule.

Finally, Andrews found a debridement of the rotator cuff. This involves cleaning out all of the debris inside the joint or on the bursal side of the joint. Having debris in the rotator cuff is not unusual, especially for a pitcher. But Prior’s was apparently bad enough to cause him problems, including a significant reduction in his velocity.

I don’t know if Mark Prior will ever become the pitcher he once was, but I’m actually kind of happy that the doctors finally found a problem. Perhaps this will quiet those who accuse Prior of being a head case. Prior will rehab for the next 12-18 months and then we’ll see if he can get back to his 2003 form.


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