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Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Royal Blues

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.

The Kansas City Royals

A pair of in-field collisions has left the defending World Series champions depleted. It started on May 22 when Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon collided in foul territory. Gordon was left nursing a wrist injury while Moustakas suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Gordonís injury is a fractured scaphoid, one of the eight tiny bones known as the carpal bones. These oddly shaped bones are divided into two rows and articulate with one another, as well as the radius and ulna of the forearm and the metacarpal bones of the hand. The cashew-shaped scaphoid sits at the base of the thumb and is a major contributor to motion at the wrist, articulating with five different bones in the area. As a result, a majority of the bone is covered in articular cartilage to smoothly allow for movement. The scaphoid also serves as an attachment site for multiple ligaments.

The scaphoid is the most commonly fractured bone of the aforementioned carpal bones. Unfortunately, the amount of available blood to the area is limited, specifically at the end closest to the thumb. As a result, a fractured scaphoid has a higher risk of a delayed or nonunion and the overall healing process often takes longer than most other bones. Surgery is often the best course of action, but it comes with a substantial amount of time off. The Royals havenít mentioned surgery yet and estimate Gordon will miss three to four weeks. However, donít be surprised if heís out longer than expected. Furthermore the already-struggling Gordon may need extra time to insure fluid movement in his wrist and could see a dip in power upon his return.

It was originally believed Moustakas avoided any serious injuries during the collision with Gordon and he was initially diagnosed with a knee contusion. However, further testing revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) effectively ending his season. The timeline for recovery following an ACL tear has improved over the last few years, and an individual is often cleared to return in six to nine months following surgery. However, studies show it may take as long as a year for the surgical graft to display the same biomechanical properties as the original ligament, and a conservative approach to care is often the safest route. Consequently, the timing of Moustakasí injury should allow him to be ready for the start of the 2017 season, though the team may be forced to limit his participation in spring training.

Less than a week after Gordon and Moustakasí collision, All-Star catcher Salvador Perez and rookie Cheslor Cuthbert collided while attempting to catch a popup. Both players were diagnosed with quadriceps contusions, though Perez also sustained a bone bruise in his left knee. Cuthbertís injury is minor and wonít force him to miss time. However, Perez is expected to miss seven to 10 days with his ailments.

Perezí timeline isnít surprising given the demands the catching position places on the knees. Bone bruises of the knee often require extra time to heal due to the anatomical positioning of the kneecap. It doesnít appear a trip on the disabled list will be necessary at the moment, but Perez should be benched in all leagues, especially weekly formats. Tony Cruz has been called up from Triple-A Omaha, while Drew Butera was behind the dish on for Sundayís win over the White Sox.

Lucas Duda

The Mets slugger will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his lower back. The spine is divided into four main segments, the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine and finally the sacral region. The lumbar region, the likely location of Dudaís injury, is made up of five vertebrae that allow for a high degree of motion and flexibility. These vertebrae are the largest of the spine as they are responsible for bearing the majority of the bodyís weight. Unfortunately, the high amounts of stress placed on and through the area leave it vulnerable to injury.

Dudaís injury has been compared to the stress fracture sustained by teammate David Wright during the 2011 season. The injury is known as a spondylolysis in which the vertebrae breaks but the fragments donít shift. If a shift occurs, the injury becomes another, more serious condition known as spondylolisthesis. For now Duda simply has to wait patiently while completing the appropriate rehab protocol. His return will need to be handled carefully, and expect the team to act conservatively given their previous work with Wright and his subsequent issues.

David Wright

If losing Duda wasnít bad enough, the Mets have sent Wright for additional testing on his sore neck. He received a cortisone injection in the area over the weekend, and the team is attempting to determine if the problem is associated to an underlying condition known as spinal stenosis.

Last season Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis of the lumbar region of his spine. Stenosis occurs when the spinal column narrows, limiting the amount of available space for the spinal cord. The problem was causing Wright pain in his back and down into his hamstrings. While the current pain is on the opposite end of the spine, there is fear the two issues may be related. Look for the team to seek out multiple opinions on the matter, and a trip to the DL seems likely. The injury serves as a not so subtle reminder of the risk associated with the seven-time All-Star.

Check Swings

Brad Boxberger: The Rays closer will be activated Monday after missing the first 48 games of the season while recovering from surgery for a torn adductor brevis muscle. Alex Colome has a bit of sustained value over the next few weeks as Boxberger is slowly worked back into the closing role.

Leonys Martin: Martin has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring, though he expects to return when first eligible. However, hamstring injuries tend to be more problematic for speedy players, and Iím betting he needs a bit of extra time to recover. If not, he runs the risk of re-injuring the strain and restarting the entire healing process.

Troy Tulowitzki: The often-injured shortstop has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right quadriceps strain. The injury is just the latest in what has been a career-long problem for Tulowitzki that includes games missed for a torn left quadriceps tendon, a lacerated right hand, a fractured left wrist, and additional groin and hip problems. While his multiple lower extremity surgeries have been on the opposite side of his current ailment, he needs to proceed with treatment cautiously to avoid a potential cross over effect. Tulowitzki owners should prep for this to take longer than the allotted 15 days and hope this low-grade strain isnít a precursor to a bigger issue.

David Ortiz: Big Papi irritated an already sore foot over the weekend and has now missed two of Bostonís last three games. Initial X-rays on the area failed to uncover a significant injury, and the Red Sox expect him back in the lineup Monday against the Orioles. His role as a designated hitter should allow Ortiz to remain in the lineup, especially with the team still a week away from any interleague matchups on the road.