TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Back in training camp, Jacob deGrom was already feeling discomfort in his elbow and took himself out of a game on April 28th.
Now we know the pain was due to a stressed UCL meaning he will have to have, Tommy John surgery.
“Okay, I’m trying to throw I can’t do it. So at least this is clear. I think we now get it fixed and then work towards coming,” said deGrom.
“So get that arm in the cocked position back here and then throw forward and it really tensions that ligament and so can eventually cause it to pop or rub and certainly get some micro tears that over time build up and that eventually makes that ligament incompetent,” explained Dr. William Hobbs.
Doctor Hobbs from the Christus Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute in Tyler, says some of the signs that a pitcher will need the surgery are pain, numbness, and tingling in their 4th and 5th fingers while throwing.
“They may lose some range of motion and then some of the common complaints is loss of velocity. When they’re pitching or throwing, they don’t have as good of a bite on their curveball and just generalized symptoms where they just are functioning and performing like they’re used to,” added Dr. Hobbs.
Once you have Tommy John surgery, the recovery process goes from 6 to 12 months to get a full recovery, and some pitchers come back stronger after the procedure.
“They’re still able to throw at a fairly high level. But once you get that pain addressed and strengthen that ligament, they can throw it even at a higher level than they were before they had the surgery a year,” said Dr. Hobbs.
“You know, I’m going to set a goal to try to be back next year towards the end of the year. So work towards that. And you know, hopefully, if we’re in a playoff run next year,” sighed deGrom.
Dr. Hobbs believes the reason why little league, high school, and Beyond implemented pitch counts is to help protect pitchers’ arms and prevent them from having Tommy John surgery.
“You need to give that elbow time to rest and recover and certainly use ice and other techniques to kind of minimize any inflammation in the ligament. Whatever you do, and once you finish throwing. So it is starting to see in a more younger age than we used to in,” said Dr. Hobbs.
As for the Rangers, they are currently having the best start to a season in franchise history, but will have to wait at least a year, before their $185 million man, is back on the mound.