MLB Injury Report: Could Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw Be Out Until June? |

MLB Injury Report: Could Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw Be Out Until June?

Los Angeles Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw has already been placed on the 15 day disabled list, but there are indications that Kershaw could be out until possibly June with the recently confirmed strained teres major muscle in his upper back. Here’s a quick refresher on how we got to this point with Kershaw:

Amazing how much can change in one week huh? Kershaw goes from an impressive opening day start in Australia to missing only one start because of inflammation to possibly being out until June. The most recent report seems to be speculation based on organizational rumblings, but it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to think the Dodgers would be that overly cautious with a player they just spent $215 million on.

To be transparent, I’m at a bit of a loss for words in terms of how an initial report of inflammation in a muscle could lead to missing 2 months of the season. There has been some confirmation that he does have an actual strain to the muscle, so that does lead me to believe that an early to mid May return isn’t out of the realm of possibility. We know how important reproducing consistent mechanics are for a pitcher, so a strain to one of the muscles that helps stabilize the shoulder blade is a big issue that needs to be addressed, which the Dodgers are definitely doing.

But a timeframe of 6-8 weeks to come back from a “minor” muscle strain doesn’t necessarily add up, so it makes me wonder if there isn’t more to this than what meets the eye. The location of the injury could have potentially caused a bursitis, as the teres major and latissimus dorsi (the wing muscle that is a primary component of force production with overhead athletes) muscles have a bursa between them that can become inflammed. With either a mild bursitis or strained muscle, 2 weeks of rest is usually sufficient enough, followed by 1-2 rehab starts, so we shouldn’t be looking any further than early to mid May. But again, it’s hard to say exactly what’s going on for sure without knowing all the facts.

In the meantime, Kershaw will be on a “submaximal” throwing program, which essentially means he’s throw at really low intensities and short distances in order to allow a sufficient healing environment for the strained muscle. Expect the team to keep a cautious eye on Kershaw over the next two weeks and be very cautious with him, with a high likelihood that a follow up MRI could be performed at that time to determine how the healing process is moving along. But at this point, expect Kershaw to miss at least all of April, and for the sake of the Dodgers’ World Series chances, not much more than that.

Any injury related questions? You can follow me on Twitter at @z_dahdul for up-to-the-minute injury news and analysis.

About Ziad Dahdul, PT, DPT, OCS, Twitter Handle: @z_dahdul (260 Articles)
Ziad graduated from the University of Southern California with a doctorate in Physical Therapy. An avid Fantasy Football enthusiast, he brings with him a desire to introduce sports medicine to the reader and help better explain what to expect on the injury side of things. Ziad became a Board Certified Orthopaedic specialist in 2014, a distinction held by <10% of physical therapists in the country. Follow Ziad on Twitter (z_dahdul) for breaking injury news and analysis
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  • Jonathan Stulberg

    Ziad, is it possible that something as simple as sitting on an airplane on the long flight from Australia to Los Angeles have caused a strain in his back? I’m 6’5″ and find even first class seats to sometimes be a bit uncomfortable for long periods of time. Wondering your thoughts on that.

  • Ziad Dahdul, PT, DPT

    Jon, it could have played a role in it, particularly on the flight back to LA like you mentioned about pitching the first game of the season. In my opinion, I wouldn’t say that was a primary reason for this injury occurring, but it probably didn’t help things. I actually think the more touchy subject is the fact that the Dodgers and DBacks pitchers weren’t able to stay on their normal pitching schedules due to the crazy amounts of travel and excessive rest days. Pitchers will tell you that in Spring Training, they want to pitch to competition, try pitches out, ramp up their velocity. With this offseason, they weren’t able to do that, and both teams are unfortunately suffering the consequences with Kershaw for the Dodgers and Patrick Corbin lost for the season for the DBacks.

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