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Diamond Cuts: Busy NL Contenders

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.

Cody Ross

Ross was carted off the field Sunday after injuring his right leg while running to first. The team later revealed Ross suffered a dislocated right hip that was reduced (realigned) at a nearby hospital. While the outfielder's season is likely over, his long-term recovery depends on how much damage was done to the surrounding structures of the hip. When the head of the femur becomes dislocated from the acetabulum of the pevis, multiple injuries are possible, including ligament, cartilage, and soft tissue damage. The most serious of these ailments would be damage to the labrum, the cartilaginous rim that aids in stability. Surgery would be required following a significant tear of the labrum and Ross would have a busy offseason of rehab. If the injury is primarily to the soft tissue then Ross could avoid going under the knife and would instead focus on strengthening the injured musculature.

Yadier Molina

The Cardinals are growing optimistic that Molina will miss the minimum amount of time and be back in the lineup by the weekend. Molina has not played since July 30 due to a right knee sprain. The knee has been issue all season long but finally forced the All-Star catcher to the disabled list after he was unable to complete the second game of a doubleheader. St. Louis has used a progressive rehab plan to help Molina. The initial goals likely focused on maintaining range of motion while controlling and managing the associated inflammation. As his pain decreased, the focus would shift to strengthening and finally sport specific activities. It appears Molina has reached this final phase as he was recently seen performing drills in his full catcher's gear. If he does not suffer any setbacks between now and Thursday, expect him to be back in the lineup when first eligible. Given the demands of his position, it would be wise to anticipate Molina receiving routine days off a bit more frequently in his first few weeks back.

Rickie Weeks

Weeks' season is over after he tore a tendon of his left hamstring. While Weeks won't be helping fantasy owners for the remainder of the season, the injury is not a straightforward as it sounds. The Brewers infielder must now decide his course of treatment that will ultimately affect his value for the 2014 season.

To start, the hamstring is not a single muscle but actually a group of three muscles: the semitendinosus,semimembranosus, andbiceps femoris. The Brewers did not specify which tendon tore but listening to athletic trainer Dan Wright comment on the injury it's easy to speculate Weeks' injury occurred to his semitendinosus. The semitendinosus, located on the medial side of the thigh, is the muscle commonly utilized to harvest the graft used during ACL reconstruction. This is important because it means Weeks could hypothetically avoid surgery. However doing so could leave him with a decrease in leg strength and vulnerable to reinjury. Surgery remains an option and may be better in the long-term, though Weeks was seeking a second medical opinion.

If Weeks undergoes surgery his recovery window would be four-to-six months, making a return during spring training a possibility. If he chooses not to surgically repair the tendon, his return date would be difficult to predict as it would depend solely on the rate of his recovery. Weeks is slated to make a decision sometime in the coming week.

Check Swings

Carlos Beltran: The Cardinals outfielder fouled a ball off his right foot, leaving it swollen and sore. X-rays were negative and the team is calling the injury a contusion. For a guy that had justifiably earned the injury prone label, Beltran has rebounded in St. Louis. Consider him day-to-day moving forward.

Yovani Gallardo: Gallardo's balky hamstring continues to improve and he plans on returning for the team's upcoming series with the Reds. The final hurdle his rehab will come Thursday when he will attempt to complete his second bullpen session. I still have my reservations here but owners who need his innings will be happy to have him back.

Roy Halladay: The Phillies ace could begin a rehab assignment soon after successfully completing a simulated game. He will throw a bullpen session Monday to determine the next step in his comeback attempt from surgery to repair a frayed labrum and partially torn rotator cuff. Halladay has motivation to come back in the final months of the season with free agency on the horizon. However the obvious red flags and his poor start to the season suggest he will be a huge gamble for the remainder of the season.

Matt Kemp: Kemp has begun taking batting practice but has yet to run. Manager Don Mattingly admitted his outfielder is also having issues cutting, meaning the lateral ligaments in his sprained ankle are not yet 100 percent. Kemp has vowed to be back before September but he will be cutting things close if he continues along his current pace.

Matt Moore: The Rays emerging star threw 50 pitches off a mound on Sunday and will look to throw a bullpen session Tuesday. If his sore left elbow does not develop any lingering soreness or show other signs of injury, Moore could potentially be back in time for the team's weekend series with the Athletics. Keep a close eye on the bullpen session and be prepared to activate Moore if needed.

Hanley Ramirez: In addition to Kemp, the Dodgers are also monitoring the improvements of Ramirez. The shortstop, who has not played a complete game since August 4, is nursing a right shoulder contusion that continues to cause problems while batting and throwing. The LA medical staff has indicated time is really his best form of treatment though he intends on playing through the pain. He's currently a risky play in weekly formats but feel free to utilize him in daily leagues.

David Wright: It sounds like the Mets are also preparing to finish the season without a key component of their lineup. The third baseman is recovering from a strained right hamstring and has elected to take a conservative approach with treatment.