Kiko Alonso Tears ACL, Likely To Miss 2014 Season

This offseason, the Buffalo Bills have continued to improve their already impressive defensive front with the addition of linebacker, Brandon Spikes. The plan was to have Spikes take over for Kiko Alonso at middle linebacker, while Alonso would slide over to the weakside linebacker position, where he could get more opportunities to rush the quarterback and create havoc on opposing offenses. Those plans will have to be scrapped, as the Bills announced this week that Alonso had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while training in Oregon.

SIA - Kiko Alonso

With Mario Williams rushing from the outside, Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus clogging the middle, and Nigel Bradham exceeding expectations, the Bills have enough pieces that the loss of Alonso shouldn’t be crippling. That isn’t to say he won’t be missed. Alonso had skyrocketed the start of his career. The Bills 2nd round pick compiled 159 tackles in his rookie campaign, as he became a premier run-stopper at the professional level. The Bills hit the jackpot with Alonso, who fit seamlessly into one of the game’s best front sevens.

It is not yet clear how the injury occurred. Alonso was rehabbing from hip surgery that he underwent earlier in the offseason, to repair a torn labrum. Injured athletes, both consciously and subconsciously, compensate for injuries by changing their mechanics. This redirects the load of force from an injured joint to a healthy joint, increasing the healthy joint’s workload. This is quite possibly what happened with Kiko Alonso. If his hip was not ready to handle the stress of his workouts, he could have been putting extra strain on his knee, potentially leading to this injury.

Despite Sean Lee’s recent ACL tear during organized team activities, major knee injuries are not common during the NFL offseason. Players are avoiding contact during offseason workouts. They also generally avoid training that involve intense lateral movement, such as explosive side to side movement. Rapid lateral movement puts stress and strain on the ACL. The ACL acts to resist side-to-side movement in the leg, allowing the foot to plant firmly in the ground and push forward. When the ligament is stressed beyond its resistance capabilities, it can tear. When the ligament tears, it often requires surgical repair, followed by a lengthy rehabilitation. Alonso is expected to miss seven-to-nine months, which will rule him out for the 2014 season.

Buffalo’s front office is trying to rebuild a team that is in the midst of the NFL’s longest playoff drought. Since the team wasn’t necessarily expected to contend in the AFC East this season, this injury shouldn’t be too damning for Buffalo’s future. With Alonso being only 23 years old, his body should heal quickly and respond well to treatment. He has access to world-class doctors and training staff. There is little incentive to rush his recovery and get him back on the field this season, but Buffalo should expect to see Alonso fully healthy next year. Fans have plenty of reason to be optimistic about 2015.

Novak Djokovic’s Shoulder “Injury”

ND Wimbeldon Shoulder Injury

At 1:00 ET today, top-ranked Novak Djokovic will face 14th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the winner advancing to Wimbledon’s quarterfinal. Djokovic has been there before. As a matter of fact, he’s made the quarterfinals in five straight Wimbledons. He will have his work cut out for him, however, with Tsonga as a very tough opponent; having reached the Wimbledon semis in two recent years.

His toughest opponent, however, might be his own shoulder. In Friday’s match, Djokovic fell, landing on his left arm. He immediately clutched his shoulder and called for a medical trainer. Djokovic said he heard a pop when he stood up, but after a short break, he was cleared to resume play. The shoulder is a very complex joint composed of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone and two separate linings called the synovium and the bursa. If any one of these structures are injured, the smoothly functioning shoulder can produce a pop, snap or click. These sounds can be simply due to everyday use, chronic repetitive stress of sports or because of a significant trauma, fall or accident.

After the match, scans on the shoulder revealed no structural damage. Trainers told Djokovic that he will have to deal with some soreness for a couple days, but aside from that, his shoulder is healthy. Had he separated or dislocated his shoulder, he would not have been able to continue his match. He may have even been prescribed rest in leiu of his next tournament. Serious shoulder injuries can have lasting effects and as such, vigorous rehabilitation is ofteb needed to regain full movement and strength.

It was a scary moment in London but the crisis seems to have been averted. Luckily for Djokovic, the injury is to his left-side. Anti-inflammatories will work to minimize soreness during his match, but he will likely still feel the effects of his fall, especially on backhand shots. No doubt he is experiencing some swelling of the joint. That swelling will be aggravated by movement, and will possibly limit his range of motion during play today. 

Djokovic played through the injury on Friday, and did so successfully. However, for best results, the injury needed to be treated immediately. Icing the shoulder as soon as play concluded would limit the amount of swelling and decrease recovery time. Since the injury occurred in the middle of a match, Djokovic was not able to rest or ice the injury immediately, as he would have wished. Fortunately for Djokovic, the injury is not serious. It could be limiting in the short-term, but hopefully the swelling has decreased to the point that it will not be a distraction during his match with Tsonga.

Tsonga will surely be attacking Djokovic’s left side this afternoon. If Djokovic has any limitations due to the injury, Tsonga will sense it immediately. Decreased range of motion will keep Djokovic from maximizing his range of motion. It will also likely reduce the speed of his swing. If Djokovic can’t perform at his typical ability, it could cause him to second-guess his play. Any hesitation at this elite level of tennis could result in the loss of crucial points. The bottom line is that Djokovic will need to put the injury out of his mind if he wants to defeat Tsonga.

How Far Will Joel Embiid Fall In Tonight’s Draft?

Joel Embiid left the NCAA as the top player heading into the NBA Draft. His immense talent, combined with his size, overshadowed his history of back and knee injuries. However, his newest, recently discovered injury is forcing teams to think twice about committing their franchise to the young center, at the 2014 NBA draft, tonight.

Navicular BoneEmbiid has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot, more specifically the navicular bone. The navicular bone is on the medial side of the foot and supports the longitudinal arch. Navicular bone stress fractures are notoriously tough to diagnose. The injury wasn’t discovered until the Cleveland Cavaliers examined his medical records during routine draft preparation. The duration of the fracture is not known, and unfortunately for Embiid, studies have shown that treatment is significantly more successful when the injury is diagnosed and treated immediately.

This could be a brand new injury, or it could be something that Embiid has been dealing with for some time. That said, the injury had not progressed to the point where he couldn’t play through it, suggesting it may have been diagnosed and treated earlier than most navicular fractures. It’s possible that Embiid was keeping the pain a secret in hopes of preserving his draft status. Either way, he’s undergone surgery to repair the fractured bone, and his recovery will take anywhere from 4 to 6 months. He’s talented enough that he shouldn’t fall too far down draft boards, as the team that drafts him will likely be a team that is undergoing a rebuild, and whose presence in 2015 won’t be vital to the franchise. 

Like many NBA big men, Embiid is no stranger to injury, although he is relatively new to the sport. He suffered a stress fracture in his back, which forced him to miss the NCAA tournament. While the two injuries are not directly related, having multiple stress fractures is cause for concern. It is possible that Embiid might to be putting more force on his musculoskeletal system than it can handle – pushing his infrastructure to its limits. Navicular stress fractures have a tendency to recur, so it’s likely that this is something Embiid will have to deal with for his entire NBA career. It bears noting that this is the same injury that ended Yao Ming’s career.

When healthy, Embiid is a franchise-changing talent, whose game is only going to improve with time. His talent can take him far, but his ability to avoid future injury will be what determines whether he has the career trajectory of Greg Oden, Hakeem Olajuwon, or somewhere in between like Yao Ming or Andrew Bogut. Right now, one thing is certain. On Thursday night, one general manager will close his eyes, cross his fingers, and cringe as Adam Silver introduces the young center out of Kansas. That GM’s fans will likely have the same reaction. 

Eyes on Jerome Boateng as his brother is dismissed from the world cup

With World Cup advancement hanging in the balance, the Germans will face the Americans on Thursday at noon ET. Each team needs a win or a tie to clinch a move out of the dreaded “Group of Death” and into the second round of the tournament. On the other hand, a loss will put the losing team into a tiebreaker with the winner of Ghana-Portugal, assuming they don’t tie. In essence, both teams know that they simply need to avoid losing in order to advance.

Playing for a tie means that this will be a defensive battle. Neither team is expected to be aggressive, and a fundamentally sound defense will be of the utmost important. Add monsoon weather conditions to the picture and we are not likely to see much scoring. Because of this scenario, unique to the World Cup, many watchful eyes will be focused on German defenseman, Jerome Boateng. Boateng left Saturday’s draw with Ghana at halftime to a hip injury. Germany’s coach, Joachim Low was vague about the injury saying that he was, “hit on the hip, and the muscle was then overstretched during a sprint and we substituted him because he would not have been able to play any longer.” The information released post-injury didn’t do much to clear up the picture or provide further details.

Boateng was cleared to resume training, but it’s unlikely that he will be 100% healthy come kickoff. Add to that the fact that his brother, Ghanian player Kevin-Prince Boateng was dismissed this morning for behavior issues, it is likely Jerome Boateng will have a considerable amount on his mind prior to the game today. That’s good news for the USA!

Should Young Jr. be back yet?

Eric Young has returned to the Mets lineup this week, after missing four weeks with a hamstring strain. Young injured the muscle while doing what he does best, base running. Young admitted to feeling some soreness in his leg for a few days prior to the injury that put him on the disabled list, but felt a pull while stealing a base. During his rehabilitation, Young continued to feel soreness, and was shut down once again, delaying his return to earlier this week.

Hamstring Tear Image - PNG

Hamstring strains are a common injury for athletes that participate in a significant amount of sprinting activities. Speedy baseball players do plenty of that. Between chasing balls in the outfield and running the bases, a player like Young spends a considerable portion of each game running at full speed. When the hamstring is injured during sprints, the location of the injury is likely at the distal end of the muscle, where the muscle meets the tendon, near the long head of the biceps femoris. This generally occurs because the most distal portion of the leg is accelerating forward quickly, causing the hamstring to contract and pull the lower leg back into control prior to striking the ground. This motion causes tension on the hamstring muscle. If unable to handle the direct force, the hamstring will stretch and potentially tear.

If Young was experiencing soreness before tearing his hamstring, it’s possible that he had previously torn the muscle and it hadn’t completely healed. Stealing the base with an already weakened muscle likely enhanced the pre-existing tear to a level that he could not play through.

Young is a prime example of why hamstring injuries need to be treated immediately. Before the athlete returns to intense activity, the muscle must be fully healed, to avoid risking further injury. Rest is key, but ice, compression, and elevation will each help to speed the healing process by minimizing the amount of bleeding in the muscle belly of the hamstring. 

Young tried to downplay his injury by saying that his trip to the DL was simply to avoid further muscle injury. While this may be true, the fact that he was sore for days prior to the injury would suggest that he had already done what he’s now trying to avoid. Aggravating the injury again, during his rehabilitation, makes one wonder if his rehab program may have been initiated too soon.

Clearly, Young wants to get back to the Mets lineup as soon as possible, and despite his .231 batting average this season, the Mets want his speed back in the lineup as well. Having already stolen 17 bases in 18 attempts this season, he’s not going to let some pain hold him down. Unfortunately, it seems possible that Young may be pushing himself beyond his body’s capabilities. Hopefully his hamstring is fully healed, because if it isn’t, he will find himself back in the Mets’ rehab facility sooner rather than later.

Adam Wainwright’s Elbow Tendonitis

For years, the St. Louis Cardinals have been known for having one of the deepest groups of starting pitching talent in the league. This is a huge reason for their success, among other things. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright were two premiere aces atop the Cardinals’ rotation, but they seemingly alternated injured seasons. Because the roster had such immense pitching depth, they were able to persevere, winning 2 World Series titles and 3 National League pennants since Wainwright’s rookie season in 2005.

Wainwright sat out the entirety of 2011 after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in spring training and undergoing the all-too-common Tommy John surgery. Since recovering from surgery, he has been a dominant workhorse, throwing 213.2 and 276.2 innings in 2012 and 2013, respectively (playoffs included). In 2013, he was able to keep his ERA below 3.00 by striking out more than 8 batters per 9 innings, and walking less than 1.50 per 9 innings, and tossed 5 complete games. If it wasn’t for Clayton Kershaw’s slightly more dominating season, Wainwright would have a Cy Young Award on his mantle.

The Cardinals announced last week that Wainwright has been experiencing a sore elbow and will skip his scheduled start on Monday. Initially, this was alarming news for baseball fans, especially given the history of Wainwright’s elbow. However, an MRI was performed, and it was discovered that there was no structural damage to Wainwright’s UCL. He was simply dealing with some tendonitis (Link: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24588339/adam-wainwright-to-miss-one-start-with-elbow-tendinitis ). Tendonitis is something that most professional pitchers deal with at some point in their career. Often times, swelling of the tendons will occur after their first several times throwing in the Spring, as the tendons have been less utilized over the off-season. However, many pitchers develop swelling over the course of a long season. Wainwright has already thrown 100 innings in 2014, and his arm most likely needs a break.

The Cardinals are being a bit vague about this injury. General Manager, John Mozeliak, described the injury to be similar to tennis elbow. Tennis elbow affects the lateral side of the elbow, as opposed to the ulnar side, so if he’s implying that Wainwright’s injury is a lateral one, this is a positive development. Mozeliak, however, is not a doctor, and it can be perilous to take too much away from what a general manager says about medical conditions. Mozeliak could simply be referring to the fact that tennis elbow is another injury affecting the elbow joint. After all, his job is not to read MRI results to the public as much as it is to keep his fans thinking positive thoughts.

That said, there is a big takeaway from something else that Mozeliak said. He told reporters that Wainwright will miss one start. This, more than anything else that has been reported, indicates that Wainwright’s elbow discomfort is not serious. He will simply get some much needed rest and return shortly, once the swelling decreases. It seems that Wainwright avoided a much more serious injury for now, but given his injury history and his heavy workload, his elbow will be one to watch going forward.

How much will Ronaldo’s Tendinosis affect the world cup?

SIA - CRThe world has set its collective eyes on Brazil as the world’s most popular sporting event gets under way. Thursday afternoon, the World Cup will kick off as the host country faces Croatia. But on Monday, fans will turn their attention to arguably, one of the most famous legs, as Cristiano Ronaldo leads team Portugal against the German national team. Ronaldo has tendinosis in the patellar tendon of his left knee.

Unlike tendinitis, which has similar symptoms, tendinosis is not a swelling of the tendon. Instead, it is actually more of a repair gone wrong. The tendon failed to heal correctly, and as such, the collagenous fibers that make up the tendon have weakened. Ronaldo has been dealing with this issue for some time, and will most likely continue to deal with it in the future.  Unfortunately for Portugal, this isn’t just a matter of reducing the swelling and carrying on as usual. Rest will alleviate pain, but until the tendon can repair itself completely, the pain is likely to return. 

Injured tendons are slow to completely heal. No fail-proof treatment methods for tendinosis currently exist. As part of his pain management, Ronaldo’s trainers are likely utilizing a myriad of treatment modalities, simply to see if anything will be effective. That said, rest and rehabilitation are the only non-surgical methods that have been proven to work, and each of those options requires upwards of an entire year for a full recovery. At 29 years old, Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t exactly have the luxury of time on his side. He is far too valuable to his team, even when he’s less than 100% healthy, to spend time sitting on the sideline.

To this point, Ronaldo and his medical team have done a great job of minimizing the impact of this injury. He’s as explosive as ever, to the point that if his injury hadn’t been made public, nobody would have known it existed. Ronaldo wisely sat out Portugal’s World Cup preparation games, and his absence required an explanation. Whether his knee was hurting at kickoff of those games or not, he didn’t want to risk re-aggravating his knee shortly before the important games began.

Fortunately, there is enough time between Real Madrid’s games to permit Ronaldo to rest his knee after each game. This typically would allow him to be relatively healthy for the next. The World Cup, however, is less forgiving. Not only did Portugal happen to draw the “Group of Death” with Germany, USA, and Ghana, but they now must play with an injured Ronaldo on a paltry 3-5 days of rest. We won’t know if his knee hurts going into Monday’s game, but we do know that the injury is likely to be aggravated at some point during the action.

Portugal was dealt a tough draw with their first round match-ups. If Ronaldo’s injury proves to be too much to handle, Portugal may not survive to see much Cup play.

 

Svetlana Kuznetsova’s Thigh Gives Out

 

Svetlana Kuznetsova was one match away from returning to the French Open semi-finals for the first time since winning the Grand-Slam tournament in 2009. Kuznetsova is known for her prowess on clay courts, having not only won the tournament in 2009, but also appearing in the finals in both 2006 and 2007, where she was runner-up to Justine Henin.

The daughter of two world-class cyclists, Kuznetsova began training at a young age. Her brother is an olympic cyclist, and she is known for incorporating intense stationary bike workouts into her regimen, which is evident by the prominence of her quadriceps muscles.

The 27th-ranked Kuznetsova was playing well in the tournament, and looked to be returning to her form from five years ago. She faced off against No. 4, Simona Halep. Halep was on her game, making very good shots, working both corners, and making Kuznetsova run laterally, but something began to seem off with Kuznetsova’s technique as the game progressed. Although Halep was placing the ball very well, Kuznetsova seemed to be a step behind, missing shots she would normally get to.

Upon losing the first set, she called for a trainer and emerged for the second set with her left thigh wrapped. At this point, the slowed play began making sense. The injury continued to impair her play in the second set. At one point she could be observed serving off of only one leg. The thigh pain ended Kuznetsova with a disappointing 6-2, 6-2.

Svetlana Kuznetsova’s workout routine could be, in part, to blame. However, unless she was overtraining her muscles between French Open matches – which is doubtful as players tone down their workouts for these types of competitions – cycling probably had very little to do with her injury. Typically, if she had trained her legs harder than other players, she would have less of a muscle imbalance. 

Muscle strains are very common in tennis. It is a game of constant acceleration and deceleration, even at the amateur level. Players are essentially going from 0 to 60 and back again, while reaching as far as the body will allow. On clay courts, as seen at the French Open, there’s the added element of traction. A player, running at full speed, has a tendency to lock his or her leg and slide several feet before deceleration and position reversal. The quadriceps is in jeopardy of a strain when a contracted muscle is lengthened suddenly, or when the leg strikes the ground with intense impact. These common tennis muscle mechanics can lead to frequent tennis injuries. 

Kuznetsova’s leg was wrapped, not to improve the injury, but to control the swelling and provide support to prevent it from worsening. Given her obvious level of discomfort, but the fact that she was able to play through it, the strain was most likely classified as a Grade 2. The injury probably stemmed from a single movement, and the pain was immediate – worsening with every step. Grade 2 strains are fairly common, and when treated correctly, they are not serious long-term. 

Ultimately, Kuznetsova was unable to advance to the semifinal match of the French Open, when she fell 6-2, 6-2 to Halep. Though it wasn’t apparent exactly how much the injury affected Kuznetsova’s play, it certainly couldn’t have helped.

 

OFFSEASON INJURY FOR SEAN LEE

The term, “offseason” can be a bit misleading in professional sports. Sure, they may not have scheduled games to play, but professional athletes are paid to be athletes year-round. For many athletes, the offseason is a time to raise the intensity of their workouts, to transform their bodies. Unlike during the season, the offseason allows for proper rest time for muscles after extreme workouts.

Since the off-season workout environment is much more controlled than the game environment, the injuries are not nearly as common, and typically not as severe. There are no injury reports in the offseason. There are no reporters asking questions at the players’ locker every day. By and large, these injuries happen and heal long before players report to their teams. Once in a while, a pulled hamstring lingers into the season, or worsens over time, but that’s fairly uncommon. What’s even more uncommon, though, is what happened to Sean Lee last week. 

The Cowboys were holding organized team activities (OTAs) when Sean Lee slipped into rookie offensive lineman, Zack Martin. Lee needed to be helped into the locker room, and an MRI later revealed that he will need surgery on his right knee to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), as well as a slight tear of the meniscus.

OTAs are the only organized practices that teams are allowed to operate during the offseason, until training camp opens later in the summer. These practices are typically held to introduce players to a new system, get players accustomed to one another, and as a way for coaches and trainers to check-in on each players’ offseason progress. Essentially, it’s a way to keep a group of teammates on the same page. These practices are typically very low contact in order to avoid injuries such as this one, but any time players are running around on turf, changing speeds, and making cuts, injuries become a factor. Unfortunately, Lee made one wrong step, and his season could be over before it starts.

ACL Tear

Lee is no stranger to torn ACLs. While with Penn State in 2009, he tore the ACL in his left knee. A tremendous athlete, Lee exploded through his cuts to catch up to his target. Unfortunately, sometimes extreme athleticism can be its own worst enemy. Not that this is necessarily the case here, but professional football players put an almost unnatural amount of force on their bodies with every single play. The purpose of the ACL is to keep the knee from moving laterally. The knee only moves in one direction because of the ACL, and without it, humans’ legs would wobble like an infant every time they tried to stand, walk, run, or cut from side to side. Each time a player puts excessive force on their leg, especially when the force is applied laterally, the ACL is put to the test. Sometimes the ligament will break down over time, after too many of these forces. Sometimes the ligament will tear after just a single event. It’s unknown which type of injury this was, but I’d guess the former, given that it was simply caused by a slip.

Recovery timetables for ACL repair varie case to case. The good news for Lee is that he is still young. Young players recover much more quickly than veterans, many of whom undergo career-ending surgery, as opposed to season-ending surgery. Surgeons are continuing to improve the quality of knee surgeries, and professional athletes have access to the absolute best surgeons in the business. Players are recovering from knee surgery quicker than ever, to the point where it’s not even clear if Lee will miss the entire season. Adrian Peterson returned to the field in less than 9 months, but he admits that his case is not a typical outcome achievable by most. (Link: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/shutdown-corner/adrian-peterson-says-incredible-acl-recovery-understand-put-221306743.html). 

Even once Lee has healed physically, he will still have a significant mental obstacle to overcome. In order to return to his high-level of performance, he must maintain the confidence that his knees will support his movement. If he doesn’t fully trust his knees, he could subconsciously alter his running mechanics, possibly favoring one leg. This could subsequently create a musculoskeletal imbalance. The imbalance could result in another injury and the mechanical hesitation created could result in decreased performance – in a league where players make a living on speed, instincts, and reaction time.

The Cowboys aren’t ruling Lee out for the season, simply because timetables for this type of injury vary so significantly. Losing Lee creates an even bigger hole in an already porous defense. Even if Lee is somehow healthy, in time for week 17, the Cowboys will need to be fighting for a playoff spot to even consider putting him on the field. The team’s unwillingness to say Lee’s done for the season shouldn’t fool anyone. It will take an absolute extraordinary healing process for Sean Lee to play in a single NFL game this season.

A Range of Emotions For The Royals

The Royals’ collective hearts skipped a beat earlier this week when their promising, young flame-thrower exited the Royals’ Memorial Day game clutching his elbow. His fastball velocity was down to 91 mph, which is about as red a flag as one can send up the flagpole, with a pitcher that regularly stays in the upper-90s.

Yordano Ventura burst onto the scene this spring, winning a spot in the rotation, to begin the regular season. He gave the radar gun a workout with his fastball, which spent time in the triple digits, and kept hitters honest with a hammer curveball in the upper-80s. The only question is whether a minor league BB:9 consistently above 3.00 would get him in trouble at the major league level. Some have questioned his mechanics; but it’s hard to find a pitcher at the major league level that hasn’t had their mechanics questioned. To compound the matter, those that question mechanics often aren’t qualified to be doing so. To their credit, the Royals keep an eye on mechanics, and have said that Ventura’s mechanics are sound.

After the game, the Royals were referring to the injury as ‘lateral elbow discomfort’, but assured fans and media that there was no damage to his Ulner Collateral Ligament (UCL). Nothing scares a pitcher more, right now, than UCL damage. The phrase elbow discomfort, mentioned by player and directed toward trainer, is just down-right terrifying. You can’t turn on Sports Center these days without seeing some discussion about a pitcher’s elbow. It’s one of the reasons that Dr. James Andrews has become a household name.

Why was the team so confident that one of their most promising players would return quickly to action? For starters, the location of the injury is not indicative of a UCL injury. Ventura’s discomfort is located on the lateral side of the arm, whereas the UCL is on the medial side. Pain, however, can be referred to different locations, and that alone is not enough to say with confidence that there is no UCL damage. But it’s a start. In the locker room, trainers likely performed a valgus stress test on his elbow, in which the arm is braced at the wrist, and pressure is applied to the elbow, pushing the arm inwards towards the body. If the elbow is more ‘loose’ than normal, it would be indicative of UCL damage. This apparently was not the case.

Without seeing the MRI, however, there still could have been small tears or fraying of the UCL present. Perhaps the message got altered between the training staff and the coaching staff, transforming it from ‘probably fine’ to ‘fine’. Then again, sometimes a coaching staff hears what they want to hear.

The next morning, the Royals announced that Ventura’s MRI came back clean, and he would only miss one start. While this is great news for Ventura, the Royals, and baseball fans, it seems to beg the question: why is the pitching staff not showing extreme caution with the young pitcher’s elbow? As we all know, the life of Ventura’s pitching arm correlates directly with the Royals’ long-term success. 

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