A-Rod hip doctor: I was surprised he was able to play at all

alex-rodriguezThe more we hear about Alex Rodriguez‘s hip injury the more it sounds like he was crazy to even be out there. Even warrior-like perhaps in his determination to keep playing through pain.

In speaking with Joel Sherman of the NY Post, Dr. Bryan Kelly, who treated A-Rod’s hip, said the injury no doubt led to his struggles and that he doesn’t believe it is steroid related.

“I was more surprised that he was able to play at all with a hip that looked like that,” Kelly said. “Most people would not be able to play with a hip function like this and the imaging that looked like his.”

Here’s an excerpt from Sherman’s piece:

Kelly explained that 25 degrees of internal rotation is needed in the hips to produce an ideal swing and less than 10 percent leaves an athlete vulnerable. Kelly said Rodriguez probably was operating at well under 25 percent even in his best years as the hip impingement methodically did damage to the joint and labrum.

As a unique athlete, A-Rod compensated by using other muscles and having a strong pain tolerance. But by October, Kelly said, A-Rod “had zero degrees of motion through his hip.” That left Rodriguez trying to generate bat speed by altering his mechanics — opening his front left foot and mainly using his arms — and “he was not able to play at the level he needed to, directly as a result of the injury he has. I looked at the pictures, and there is no doubt the injury was what caused the reduction of performance.”

The good doctor on a possible steroids link:

“The easiest question anyone can ask is if this is related to steroid use. I can say with 100 percent certainty this is not a steroid injury at all. This is a mechanical injury, and mechanics are something you are born with.”

“Given Alex’s anatomy and sport, at some point in his career, the effects of the impingement would appear,” Kelly said.

A-Rod still has not scheduled the surgery. The doctor said it could be anywhere from two to four weeks from now still as they are still waiting for the inflammation to die down. That means it is possible he won’t have the surgery until Feb. making a June return looking less likely.

The doctor sounds confident that once he does return, hopefully not after July, that A-Rod will be close to, if not at, 100 percent. Caution — there is a chance that A-Rod doesn’t return at all though so it is far from a slam dunk.

“Alex is not one of those patients,” Kelly said. “I truly believe we can make him significantly better, if not — ideally — back to the way he was before symptoms, or else I would not offer surgery.”

“There is a threshold that makes full recovery more and more of a challenge and, at some point, it makes a return impossible,” Kelly said. “But we have looked at [Rodriguez’s] imaging, and we are all extremely optimistic he will get back.”

“I wouldn’t in any way say Alex is an easy case,” Kelly said. “There are a lot of complexities with him. … I would say we are extremely optimistic that we can get Alex back to performing at a high level, but he has a lot of obstacles in the way to get there.”

Wow. The Yankees have a lot riding on A-Rod returning. If he doesn’t come back at all the team will get a good portion of the money he’s owed back through insurance. However, that doesn’t help the fans as the money still counts against the luxury tax so the Yankees would be unlikely to reinvest that money back into the team and will be more likely to just pocket it.

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4 Responses to A-Rod hip doctor: I was surprised he was able to play at all

  1. Daniel says:

    As I understand it if Arod is unable to perform and is not on the roster his salary would not count against the luxury tax. Please look into that to confirm the actuality of that position.

    • A-Rod's salary counts against the luxury tax. The only scenario where it might not, and I'm not sure about this even, is if he retires.

      • gcorcoran says:

        What happens to A-Rod's money if he retires due to injury? 1. Does he still get it? and 2. Does it then count towards the luxury tax?

        This is definitely a pipe dream and it's horrible to say but the best thing that could possibly happen to the Yankees right now would be if A-rod were forced to retire due to injury, but still got his money. The money would come off the payroll, AND Hank Penny Pincher Steinbrenner would get his money back and would be more likely to reinvest it in the team. Obviously A-Rod is not going to retire if he somehow loses the money by "officially" retiring. My question stems from the idea that retiring due to injury is possibly considered a different entity by major league baseball than retiring voluntarily.

      • Daniel says:

        Yes, if he retires due to injury (unable to perform) so he would not be on the roster and so his salary does not count against the luxury tax.
        Thanks for checking that out!