F.O.B. (Friend Of the Blog) Will Carroll spoke to a foot injury expert about Chien-Ming Wang. With Will’s kind permission, here is what Dr. Philip Kwong of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic said:
“It is unusual to have both a Lisfranc ligament sprain and partial tear peroneal longus together, and longer time will be needed for recovery (8-12 weeks if no significant instability occurs at the Lisfranc joints). The combined injuries represent greater rotational stress than would be experienced for each injury alone. Prognosis and time line for recovery will depend on the exact amount of ligament/tendon tear sustained and on the amount of tissue remaining to provide stability. Healing is the formation of scar tissue and not regrowth of the normal ligament or tendon tissue; consequently, future problems such as arthritis can occur at Lisfranc’s joints or reinjury of the peroneal longus tendon.”
In other words, it could take much longer than six weeks for Wang to heal. The best-case scenario is six weeks to heal, four weeks to rebuild arm strength and back in September. But there’s probably a better than 50 percent chance that the next time Wang throws a pitch it will be in Tampa in February.
Keep in mind that a starting pitcher puts more stress on his body than a reliever. Throwing 100 pitches means pushing off that right foot about 160 times counting your warm-ups before and during the game. Brian Bruney, as a result, can come back quicker than Wang.
Plus a lower-body injury always puts a pitcher in danger of altering his mechanics enough to risk injury to his elbow or shoulder. Wang has had shoulder issues in the past (although not since 2005), so the Yankees will be cautious in that regard.
Wang said he will do exercises to keep his arm strong and he is eager to come back as soon as he can. Back in 2005, Wang went on the DL with a shoulder issue, came back in September and made five starts (2-2, 4.36 ERA). So he knows the drill.
But he’s never had an injury like this before. As Will pointed out in Baseball Prospectus, how the Yankees handle Wang will be tied to their record.
As was mentioned in the game post on Tuesday, Larry Bowa texted Wang and Ron Guidry called him. Nice of those guys to check in like that. I suspect Wang will get a call from Joe Torre, too.
Wang doesn’t get much (if any) television time, so fans don’t know him well. But he’s a good guy who everybody in the clubhouse likes. He’ll have a lot of support from his teammates.
We get a lot of readers in Taiwan (which is why I’m posting now) and I’ll try and keep you posted on Wang’s recovery over the course of the next few months.