New York Post—July 25, 2012
According to Dr. Michelle Carlson, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, the fractured hand Rodriguez suffered in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to Seattle on Tuesday night could have been worse and the slugging third baseman may not require surgery.
"Without seeing [Rodriguez’s fracture], it appears as if he has a non-displaced metacarpal fracture, which means it's a crack in the bone but it hasn't moved from the position where it is supposed to be,” Carlson told The Post. “That’s good and those can usually be treated with just a splint, you don't need to have surgery."
Initial reports stated that Rodriguez, who suffered a broken fifth metacarpal after being hit by Felix Hernandez, would miss up to six weeks, but he could return to action in as early as four.
"A metacarpal fracture generally takes three to four weeks to heal and return to play after that is somewhat dependent on pain and how long it takes the player to get their motion back," Carlson said. “Best-case scenario is that it heals in three weeks and he’s even able to start a little rehab during that time and he can come back fairly shortly after that."
"[Recovery time] is player dependent, he can be back in six weeks being the player he was before. It also depends on the fracture," Carlson said.
Regardless of when Rodriguez returns to the team, the Yankees could err on the side of caution and have him play DH to minimize the risk of reinjuring the hand.
"Just batting, the risk [of reinjury] would be low, in the field the risk would be greater," Carlson said. “That risk for refracture continues for a number of weeks after the bone has healed."
Generally this type of injury affects baseball players much differently than other athletes and with a seven-game lead in the AL East the Yankees may not rush Rodriguez back to action.
"The amount of strength that is required to swing the bat is very different than a lot of other sports. The needs for Rodriguez are much higher than they are in other sports," Carlson said. "My guess is they would not let him back if he was not between 80-90 percent healthy."
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