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Diamond Cuts: The Doc Is In

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.

Dillon Gee

The Mets right-hander could be done for the season after undergoing surgery to repair artery damage in his throwing shoulder. Gee was originally treated for a blood clot that had developed in the area. Further investigation revealed the damage to the blood vessel itself, leading to a second procedure intended to fix the issue.  Blood clots and artery damage are serious issues and should not be taken lightly. However they are not uncommon in overhead athletes, specifically pitchers. 

A high number of nerves and blood vessels follow a path from the neck, down past the clavicle, and into the armpit area, before branching down into the remainder of the arm. The area from the clavicle to the armpit is tightly compacted, leaving the nerves and vessels susceptible to injury. Gee's condition is somewhat to the thoracic outlet syndrome plaguing St. Louis' Chris Carpenter. However, instead of a nerve getting compressed, it's an artery. The resulting pinching likely formed the clot, similar to how pressure build when you kink a hose. The repetitive motion of delivering a baseball continually wore down the vessel that ultimately led to Gee's surgery.

He is expected to miss between six to eight weeks but my guess is it will be closer to the end of that estimation. If he does miss eight weeks, he wouldn't be available until September. I don't imagine the Mets risking his future and I suspect he will not pitch again until the 2013 season.

Roy Halladay

As the Mets lose a pitcher, their division rivals are preparing to welcome one back into the fold. Halladay, out since late May with a strained latissimus dorsi, made a rehab appearance on Thursday, pitching three innings for High-A Clearwater. He allowed one unearned run on three hits and collected four strikeouts without allowing a walk. Barring a setback, the Phillies anticipate Halladay will be activated prior to Tuesday's game against the Dodgers.

Keep in mind that pitchers like Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy, and Kerry Wood have all initially struggled after coming back from lat issues and fantasy owners should temper their early expectations for Halladay. Still the two-time Cy Young winner has always bounced back admirably from injury and he should be nice boost for fantasy owners to start the stretch towards the playoffs.

Jason Hammel

The Orioles pitcher could be out for a significant stretch of time after a knee injury forced him from his last start. Baltimore is already set to place Hammel on the DL but the pitcher and the team has yet to decide if surgery will be necessary. Apparently Hammel has been dealing with a loose piece of cartilage within his right knee for the last few months. He had been previously able to pitch through the pain but the cartilage recently shifted and is now compressing against a nerve. A simple arthroscopic surgery could alleviate the problem but the subsequent rehab would cost him roughly a month. Reports out of Baltimore suggest Hammel is strongly considering going under the knife in order to help the O's make a playoff push. If he does elect to undergo the surgery fantasy owners should anticipate him back in lat August.

Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia

If all goes according to plan, the Red Sox could welcome back three prominent components of their offense by the end of the week.

Ellsbury was the first piece to fall into place, returning to action in Friday's game against the Rays. The results were promising as Ellsbury collected three hits in his first two games back. Moving forward the primary concern for Ellsbury is sliding, whether into a base or for a fly ball in the outfield. His rehab focused on strengthening the musculature around his injured shoulder to help stabilize the glenohumeral joint. Assuming the Boston medical staff did their due diligence, Ellsbury should be able to perform these activities without concern. Still don't be surprised to see him a bit gun-shy early on as he slowly becomes comfortable playing again. Regardless, he should be back to his old self after shaking off some expected rust.

Crawford appears to be the next in line to return. After missing the first half of the season with a myriad of injuries, including offseason wrist surgery, a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), and a mild groin strain, Crawford is expected to be activated Monday. Unfortunately I'm not as high on him as I am on Ellsbury. The elbow injury is my primary cause for hesitation. It was bad enough for Crawford to contemplate Tommy John surgery and it still appears surgery may still be an option. If Boston isn't able to make a legitimate run at a playoff spot, I don't see any reason to delay a procedure that would require six to eight months of rehabilitation.

Additionally, the groin injury does nothing but complicate the situation. Crawford needs his speed to be effective and if he is limited at all it wouldn't be shocking to see him struggle out of the gate.

With the outfield healthy Boston will then shift their focus on to the impending return of Pedroia. The former MVP had missed six games earlier in the season with a torn adductor muscle in this right thumb and was expected to miss up to three weeks with a second thumb injury. However it appears the torn volar plate is improving and the previous muscle tear is completely healed. Pedroia is already out of the cast and has begun batting practice. It now looks as if he could be eligible to return on Thursday just 15 days after the injury. That still may be a bit premature but it has to be good news for Pedroia owners.

Jed Lowrie

Lowrie was forced from Houston's Saturday loss to San Francisco with a lower leg injury sustained during a collision at second base. Lowrie was covering the bag when Giants Gregor Blanco slid hard into second. Lowrie's ankle got caught between Blanco's spikes and the base, violently twisting the ankle and knee. The team has confirmed a sprained right ankle but has not determined the extent of the knee injury. X-rays were negative but a MRI could be performed to rule out any ligament or cartilage damage. After years of battling injuries to his left wrist, left forearm and right shoulder, Lowrie was having his best season of his career. Keep a close eye out for the results of any additional testing and hope it is nothing serious.