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Diamond Cuts: Ellsbury's Foot Injury

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.


Jacoby Ellsbury

The Red Sox are gearing up for a return to the postseason but whether or not Ellsbury is in the lineup remains a mystery after the outfielder was diagnosed with a compression fracture in his right foot. The injury occurred August 28 when Ellsbury fouled a ball off of his foot. He aggravated the injury a week later and further tests revealed the break.

The exact bone Ellsbury fractured is the navicular bone. The navicular is a small bone located in the mid-foot and plays a vital role in proper weight transfer. Unlike some of the bones located in the area, the majority of the navicular has a relatively healthy supply of blood. An ample amount of blood creates an environment more conducive to healing.

Boston fans should be familiar with this bone as several local sports icons have recently dealt with injuries to the navicular, including Dustin Pedroia and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Sadly, both Brady and Pedroia required surgery to fix their breaks. Fortunately for Ellsbury tests indicate the bone did not shift and has a decent chance of healing without surgical intervention. However if a malunion or non-union does occur naturally, Ellsbury would eventually need to go under the knife to insure the bone's stability.

The team is treating him conservatively but understands the associated risks involved. He will wear a walking boot for the next five days before being reevaluated. If all goes well he has an outside chance at being back in 10 days. However suggesting a full recovery in less than two weeks is extremely optimistic. As previously mentioned the navicular is a key component of weight transfer, absorbing forces created during ground impact. It also helps generate the necessary force to propel the foot forward like when leaving the batter's box or attempting a steal. If an Ellsbury return occurs before the navicular is near 100 percent, the speedster would be unable to perform at his normally high level of play and would be at an elevated risk for reinjury.

Ellsbury is likely to return at some point before the regular season concludes but his remaining fantasy value takes a nosedive with this injury. Stash him if you have room but don't be afraid to look elsewhere if you need production entering the fantasy playoffs.

Carlos Gonzalez

The curious case of CarGo continues. The Rockies elected to active Gonzalez from the disabled list even after he aggravated the middle finger sprain in his last minor league assignment. The finger, initially injured in early August, remains painful and swollen and forced the outfielder to change his grip on the bat. However even the alteration to his grip hasn't helped much, leaving Gonzalez limited to serving as a defensive specialist. He hasn't collected a hit since before the injury occurred and seems destined for a late season shutdown. If he can't hit then he can't help fantasy owners, and it would be wise to seek productivity elsewhere.

Matt Kemp

A setback in rehab will delay Kemp's return but the latest issue is not with his healing sprained ankle. Instead his new problem isn't a new problem at all as he is once again having trouble with his right hamstring. Kemp missed 24 games earlier in the season with a strain of the muscle after missing a significant portion of the 2012 season with left hamstring problems. The latest setback has been labeled hamstring tightness and not a new strain but it appears as if Kemp is looking at his second straight lost season.

It is common for an injured athlete to experience pain or tightness in the muscles opposite their current injury. A sprained left ankle would alter Kemp's gait, placing excessive stress on his "good" right leg. Normally basic treatment could help prevent this compensation from becoming a true problem but since the muscle tissue in Kemp's right leg is likely still recovering from the previous strain, it was more prone to aggravation.

Kemp should be shut down for the remainder of the season to allow the ankle to heal and let him focus on strengthening his chronically injured hamstrings. The extra time off would also allow him to continue strengthening his surgically repaired shoulder and give him a better chance to come into spring training healthy and ready to contribute.

Check Swings

Jose Bautista: The Blue Jays have shutdown the slugger for the remainder of the season despite signs that his injured hip is healing. Bautista suffered a bone bruise to his left femur. He finishes the season with 28 home runs and 73 RBI.

Felix Hernandez: Lower back cramps forced Hernandez from his most recent start but the King hopes to take the mound Wednesday against the Astros. Hernandez has dealt with back problems several times in recent seasons but has managed to avoid the DL each time. The Mariners plan on shifting to a six-man rotation, which will allow him some extra rest in-between starts. Late note the Mariners have pushed King Felix's start back even further because of the back issues.

Derek Jeter: The Yankees have once again shut down their captain indefinitely after Jeter aggravated his surgically repaired ankle. He was limited on the basepath and the team elected to send him for a CT scan over the weekend. The results did not reveal a new or reoccurring break but the team will give him several days rest. A troublesome ankle and a .190 batting average are solid indicators that Jeter just can't be trusted this season.

Martin Prado: Prado did not start in either of Arizona's games over the weekend just days after being named the National League Player of the Month for August. He's battling a sinus infection but did pinch-hit Sunday. He should be fine in a couple of days and has been too hot to sit, even in weekly leagues.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton turned his right ankle over a week ago but lingering soreness forced him from the series finale against the Nationals on Sunday. X-rays taken on the foot and ankle did not reveal a break and he should be back in the lineup Monday against the Braves.

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