The news about Michael Pineda’s labrum injury prompted a lot of doom-and-gloom predictions that he may never be the same pitcher again. In my post from this morning, I looked at a number of cases of pitchers who had labrum surgery, to compare their successes and outcomes. One of the most notable successes was Curt Schilling, who had the surgery in 1995, and was back in 1996 seemingly no worse for wear. Schilling seemed to be an outlier, and his case made me wonder if his injury was less severe than some of the other cases.
It turns out that Michael Pineda’s injury was to the same part of the ligament as Schilling’s was. Andrew Marchand spoke to Schilling and Schilling’s surgeon, Craig Morgan today to get their take on the Pineda situation. Both Morgan and Schilling was considerably more optimistic than most other prognosticators have been:
He can be back better than he has ever been in 10 months,” said Schilling, now an ESPN baseball analyst. “Maybe less, because he is younger. It is going to be 100 percent on him.
“I came back after my surgery, throwing four to six miles harder than I did before,” he said. “That is where the magic is. It is all about rehab. Most doctors can make you 100 percent well physically. I would tell you that it is 25 percent about the surgery and 75 percent about the rehab.”
With the advances in the science, Morgan believes Pineda possibly could pitch again in six to eight months.
The ability to hasten the recovery likely will have to a lot to do with Pineda’s work ethic.
I’m going to try not to get too excited by this, but seeing how well Schilling was able to recover from the same injury, it certainly increases Pineda’s chances of making a full recovery. All labrum injuries are not the same, but if Pineda’s is of a less serious nature like Schilling’s, then the prognosis could be better.
Of course, as Schilling and Morgan mentioned, the onus would still be on Pineda to work hard in rehab to rebuild his arm strength. I have no doubt that Schilling worked his tail off in rehab and may very well be a physical outlier, but he was also 4-5 years older than Pineda, which would seem to work in Pineda’s favor. This is definitely not a guarantee that Pineda will be back to full strength after his surgery, but it at least gives some more hope than we had previously. I’m not sure about Schilling’s timeline, as I’m sure the Yankees will take their time with Pineda. However, if Pineda can come back as strong or even stronger than before, that would be a very exciting development.
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