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Diamond Cuts: They Call Me Bruce

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.

Jay Bruce

The Reds will be without Bruce for at least three weeks after a MRI revealed a partially torn meniscus in his left knee. The two-time All-Star underwent surgery on Monday to correct the problem but the specifics surrounding the procedure have been slightly misinterpreted. Several media outlets are reporting Bruce had the affected area repaired, but given the established timeline that is not entirely accurate.

To start, you have to understand the anatomy behind the knee itself. Between the upper and lower leg bones sit the menisci, two fibrocartilage discs specifically designed to withstand high amounts of stress while retaining their elasticity. This makeup allows the menisci to serve both as a shock absorbers and a stabilizer. The medial and lateral menisci are both located on the articulating surface of the tibia. While this position is critical for stability it does leave the discs susceptible to injury. If the knee is violently twisted, the menisci are often pinched between bony projections on the femur, resulting in a tear. Tears can be minor and surgery can be avoided but the site of the damage must occur in a very specific range. Blood is readily available to the outer portions of the disc making natural healing possible. However as you moves inward the amount of blood becomes limited and even nonexistent in some places, limiting the body's natural defenses. As a result surgery is more often than not required.

A surgeon has two options, repair the damage or remove the injured tissue in a procedure known as a meniscectomy. A meniscus repair has better long-term results than a partial or full meniscectomy, though the recovery time following surgery is longer and rehab is more extensive. A player often requires three-to-six month of recovery following a true repair. Further complicating the issue is the fact that the procedure comes with a noticeably high failure rate.

A meniscectomy is the more common of the two and has a much quicker return to play timeline. A player with a meniscectomy can usually return to activity within six weeks. However this quick return does have its consequences as meniscectomies are accompanied by an increased risk for future problems like osteoarthritis and other complications like cysts.

Given the information provided by the Reds it's safe to say Bruce underwent a meniscectomy on his partial tear. Cincinnati is hoping he can be back on the field within a month but that could be pushing things a bit. Expect this situation to resolve closer to the six weeks mark barring any complications. Remember teammate Joey Votto missed additional time during the 2012 season after another surgery was needed following a meniscectomy of his own. Chris Heisey has assumed Bruce's position in the outfield and the lineup.

Check Swings

Matt Cain: A slip of a knife in the clubhouse resulted in a laceration on the right index finger of the Giants ace. Cain cut his finger while making a sandwich but still attempted to pitch through the "injury". Unfortunately the resulting wound affected his grip forcing Cain to the DL. San Francisco will take the necessary steps to insure the associated scaring is minimized and Cain should return shortly.

Chris Davis: The Orioles slugger is making strides in his recovery from an oblique strain and is currently pain-free in the area of the initial injury. However he has yet to attempt any rotational motions like batting or throwing and it is likely Baltimore will continue to treat him conservatively. A decision on whether or not a rehab assignment will be necessary has yet to be determined. He's on track for a return at some point this month and his success, or lack thereof, with baseball-related activity will provide better insight as too exactly when.

Josh Hamilton: Hamilton is set to take a big step forward in his rehab for his surgically-repaired thumb. The former MVP will attempt to bat for the first time Friday as he begins the sport-specific portion of his recovery. The strength of Hamilton's grip and the related comfort will be a good indicator as to if he can remain ahead of schedule. If all goes well a late May return may be possible.

Joe Mauer: Mauer is dealing with a mild case of back spasms. The problem first appeared Sunday and forced him out of the lineup on Monday. Spasms are not an injury but a symptom attached to some underlying issue. It's likely muscular in nature but the Twins have to pinpoint the root of the problem to insure Mauer makes an appropriate and speedy recovery.

Yasiel Puig: The Dodgers outfielder crashed into the outfield wall but has managed to pass all subsequent concussion tests. He also suffered a minor leg injury but it appears he will avoid the DL. However injuries to Washington's Bryce Harper have already demonstrated the effects of an aggressive style of play and Puig owners should be thankful his similar injuries have not been as severe.

Josh Reddick: The Oakland outfielder has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle and will sit for at least two more games. If the joint does not improve by the weekend then a trip to the DL will become a more realistic option.

Jimmy Rollins: Keep a close eye on the veteran shortstop. He's nursing a mild groin strain that kept him out of the lineup on Monday. Groin injuries are very problematic, particularly for players that rely on their speed and lateral movement. Shortstop is one of the more taxing positions on the lower extremities, making Rollins vulnerable to aggravating the area.

Wilin Rosario: Locker rooms often breed germs and other pathogens, a fact the Rockies are currently learning first hand. A nasty flu bug is going around the team with Rosario the latest to catch the illness. The illness was significant enough to require a 15-day DL stint but he should be back in the minimal amount of time. However illnesses like this can sap a player of their strength and be a major step back in terms of rhythm and conditioning. Therefore fantasy owners should exhibit patience with Roasiro upon his return.