Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Robert Injured in Head-First Slide

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Robert Injured in Head-First Slide

This article is part of our Fantasy Baseball Injury Report series.

Jonathan India

Shortly after emerging from a cornfield in Cincinnati's recent Field of Dreams game, India was struck by a pitch in the lower leg. The resulting impact left the second baseman badly bruised and swollen with both symptoms worsening as the game continued. Ultimately, India's night ended with him being airlifted to the hospital as team physician's worried he was suffering from acute compartment syndrome.

Below the knee, the leg is separated into four compartments. Each compartment is divided by bone and connective tissue known as fascial sheaths. The sheaths surround the muscle, nerves and blood vessels of the area providing stability.

Unfortunately, the fascia can be too durable with some injuries. Following a direct blow or in some cases excessive exercises, swelling develops in the area. As the edema increases, the fascia traps the fluid in the involved compartment. If the swelling continues, it can begin to impinge on neighboring structures like blood vessels and nerves. As a result, blood circulation and nerve activity in the area can become restricted, making a usually mild injury more problematic. Individuals experiencing compartment syndrome often report severe pain, numbness and loss of function. They may also have a reduced pulse in the lower extremity. If the pressure is not released, compartment syndrome can result in permanent muscle and nerve damage, or in some extreme cases, death.

India was closely monitored at an Iowa City hospital and allowed to drive back to Cincinnati. He has not played since, as the team continues to

Jonathan India

Shortly after emerging from a cornfield in Cincinnati's recent Field of Dreams game, India was struck by a pitch in the lower leg. The resulting impact left the second baseman badly bruised and swollen with both symptoms worsening as the game continued. Ultimately, India's night ended with him being airlifted to the hospital as team physician's worried he was suffering from acute compartment syndrome.

Below the knee, the leg is separated into four compartments. Each compartment is divided by bone and connective tissue known as fascial sheaths. The sheaths surround the muscle, nerves and blood vessels of the area providing stability.

Unfortunately, the fascia can be too durable with some injuries. Following a direct blow or in some cases excessive exercises, swelling develops in the area. As the edema increases, the fascia traps the fluid in the involved compartment. If the swelling continues, it can begin to impinge on neighboring structures like blood vessels and nerves. As a result, blood circulation and nerve activity in the area can become restricted, making a usually mild injury more problematic. Individuals experiencing compartment syndrome often report severe pain, numbness and loss of function. They may also have a reduced pulse in the lower extremity. If the pressure is not released, compartment syndrome can result in permanent muscle and nerve damage, or in some extreme cases, death.

India was closely monitored at an Iowa City hospital and allowed to drive back to Cincinnati. He has not played since, as the team continues to treat the calf contusion. It appeared he was going to return Monday but was a late scratch. There shouldn't be any long-term concerns here, but the team will give him as much time as necessary to treat the injury. Consider him day-to-day for now.

Luis Robert

Injuries have limited Robert to just eight games since the All-Star break. He initially missed time dealing with lightheadedness and blurry vision and is now nursing a sprained wrist. The latest injury occurred when Robert performed a headfirst slide during an attempted stolen base. 

The headfirst slide is a point of contention among medical researchers, as its usage and the associated risk that comes with performing the action has been debated for years. Multiple studies have been completed comparing the headfirst slide and the feetfirst slide with most failing to determine any significant difference in speed between the two methods.

Both come with respective injury risk. The feetfirst slide opens the individual to lower extremity injuries if the foot gets stuck in the ground or strikes the base. However, the frequency of injury in the feetfirst slide is much lower than the rate of injury that comes when players dive headfirst into the bag.

Sliding headfirst leaves a player vulnerable to head injuries as well as thumb and finger injuries. It also takes a large amount of control away from the individual performing the slide. Sliding mitts have helped reduce the odds of a hand or finger injury but the time lost to injuries following headfirst slides remains high. Notable players like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Carlos Correa have all missed substantial stretches of time after suffering injuries while sliding headfirst. This isn't even Robert's first hand-related injury that occurred while sliding. During Spring Training for the 2018 season, Robert suffered a "moderate sprain" in his left thumb during a slide attempt. The prior injury is likely why the White Sox slugger was wearing a sliding mitt when he was injured on Friday.

Manager Tony La Russa said Robert is considered day-to-day, and a trip to the injured list should be avoided. However, even if he can return to the lineup, fantasy mangers invested in Robert may want to scale back their expectations until he can put together a stretch of sustained good health and prove the wrist won't impact him at the plate.

Check Swings

Ronald Acuna: The Braves outfielder made an early exit in the second game of Atlanta's double-header Saturday. He was limited to a pinch-hit appearance on Sunday but did manage to return to action on Monday. The approach by Atlanta makes sense considering he's still a year removed from his ACL repair, and I suspect we see more games off down the stretch.

Max Fried: The left-hander is expected back later this week after missing time with a concussion. He will still need to complete the league's mandated concussion protocol, though it sounds like he is progressing smoothly through the program. Fried has pitched well since the All-Star break, striking out 18 batters and posting a 2.37 ERA in three straight quality starts.

Bryce Harper: It's looking like the Phillies All-Star is nearing a return, as he faced live pitching on Monday. Harper has not played since undergoing surgery in late June to mend a fractured thumb. He had a bit of difficulty regaining full range of motion in the joint after having the pins surgically removed, but he appears to have moved on from that minor issue. He will repeat his outing on Wednesday and could be cleared for a rehab assignment as soon as next week. It looks like Harper could be in back with the Phillies just in time for the fantasy playoffs.

Giancarlo Stanton: The All-Star Game MVP is also nearing a return after missing time with left Achilles tendinitis. He completed a full workout Monday and will head out for a rehab assignment if Wednesday's workout yields the same results. Stanton will always carry an elevated level of inherent injury risk given his lengthy injury history, but it does appear he has a chance to move quickly past this recent problem. Look for him to return before the end of the month.

Mike Trout: The three-time AL MVP was a full participant in batting practice on Sunday as he works his way back from costovertebral dysfunction in his thoracic spine. The activity was a big step forward in his recovery, as the condition left him functionally limited with rotational based movement. Trout could potentially head out on a rehab assignment by the end of the week if he continues to progress without a recurrence of inflammation or back spasms. The Angels outfielder will likely require routine maintenance on the area, and the Los Angeles medical staff could opt for routine day offs to help avoid a flareup. Sporadic usage would negatively impact his overall fantasy value but, given his considerable upside, those invested in Trout would happily welcome him back in any sort of capacity. A late August return seems plausible. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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