After the post on the rotator cuff, I decided I would start a "column" in FanPosts where when certain injury issues arrive, I will look at the injury, causes, procedures, and future Extenuating Injury Circumstances.
For the first injury I write about CJ Wilson and his problem elbow. I have been pondering this for awhile, and decided to write it out.
I'm not sure how often I will write this, it will probably depend on injuries and my school work. The only other one I am planning is if we sign a certain free agent pitcher.
Hope you enjoy, and like always, please let me know of any corrections, I make mistakes often.
Player: Christopher John (CJ) Wilson
· Born November 18, 1980
· Hometown of Newport Beach, California
· After attending Fountain Valley High School (graduating 1998), Wilson played at Santa Ana Junior College where in 2000 he was awarded MVP of the Orange Empire Conference, and the California Junior College Co-Player of the year award. Wilson played outfield, first base, started, and relieved at Loyola Marymount University during the 2001 season.
· Wilson was drafted by the Rangers in the fifth round (141st overall) of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft.
Prior Injury History (Large Issue)
· April 12, 2003- Tommy John Surgery, Dr. Lewis Yocum.
· After missing all of 2004 due to the elbow injury, Wilson was able to return to Double-A in 2005 before being called up to the majors later that season. He posted a 1-7 record and 6.94 ERA in 24 games during his rookie campaign with the Rangers. Later in the season, Texas placed him in the bullpen full-time where he went 1-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 relief appearances.
Minor Injury in MLB Career
· He started the 2006 season on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring before returning to the team going 1-2 with a 5.16 ERA with the Rangers before getting optioned to Triple-A on June 1.
Current Injury Status
· Week of August 10-16th, 2008- Wilson has arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from left elbow. Surgery was deemed successful.
(Thanks to Wikipedia and to BBTIA for background and injury information and dates)
Analysis of Injury
Bone spurs are typically caused by osteoarthritis, but in baseball and tennis players it can be caused by overstress of bone, which causes a localized overgrowth of the bone.
Additionally, those with UCL(Ulnar Collateral Ligament) problems, past or present, often experience bone chips in the region.
Normally, anti-inflammatory medicine and rest can solve the issue. But for chronic stress appliers such as pitchers, a simple surgery may be necessary. Normally, this procedure can be performed arthroscopic ally, and with a short (3 month) recovery period.
"Three bones come together to form the elbow. They are the humerus (upper arm bone), the radius (lower arm bone on the thumb side), and the ulna (lower arm bone on the little finger side). These bones form a hinge joint. In addition, the radius rotates so you can turn your palm to the front or to the back. Arthroscopic surgery of the elbow is challenging because of the joint's anatomy. The bones lie close together, and nerves and blood vessels are located very close to the joint (see illustration). Therefore, the doctor must be especially careful when inserting the arthroscopic instruments into the joint.
These spurs can be painful and make it hard to move the elbow. The doctor can remove the spurs by using special tools, such as a burr, inserted into the joint through the portals or small incisions. After the spurs are removed, the elbow moves more easily and with less pain."
David Nedeff, M.D.
Extenuating Injury Circumstances: The UCL and its Relation to Bone Spurs
It occurred to me while writing this piece that, in fact, CJ has a loop developing in terms of his elbow.
UCL tear/Tommy John Surgery~~~~Bone Spurs in region~~~~?
Simply, these surgeries are all connected by one thing. The Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Although some disagree, Bone Spurs in an elbow often times is a precursor to UCL problems. Often times, the UCL will be loose, which causes more contact by bones in the elbow. In turn, the body builds bone mass in the region as a natural precaution. In other words, the body is trying to stabilize the elbow by growing more bone.
With CJ already having had Tommy John surgery, the full circle seems to once again descending into the belly of the beast.
My conclusion would be that a combination of elbow structure, bone complex, UCL strength and pitching motion are all components of CJ’s problems.
Best case scenario, he never has problems again.
Worst case, or I guess more likely scenario: UCL problems are on the way. I couldn’t find any reports about the surgery, other than that it went well and that they removed the spurs. But, I wonder if during the surgery, an observation was made that the reconstructed UCL was once again loose, and that indeed CJ might be headed towards more problems.
This is all just theory and guesswork, but if I had to make a prediction, I would guess that in the coming months/years, we will see CJ’s bone problems continue, or we could indeed see UCL reconstruction, again.
(Notes: This is not an opinion of a medical doctor, nor is it the work of a professional in the field of medicine. This work is based on speculation, and cannot be confirmed without a full medical exam. Additionally, please regard the hypothesis and predictions as parts of a research proposal, using the scientific method as a means of structure.)