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:
Naturally, Dodgers get regular Clayton Kershaw, not spring version http://t.co/0BCtD4vzCA
— Steve Dilbeck (@stevedilbeck) March 22, 2014
Dodgers announce Clayton Kershaw won't start on opening day. MRI this morning showed inflammation in left upper back (Teres major muscle)
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) March 27, 2014
"It's nothing to be worried about, but it's really frustrating. If I had to push tomorrow, I could probably do it." -Clayton Kershaw
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 27, 2014
Clayton Kershaw will be placed on a rehab that includes a submaximal throwing program for the next 2-3 weeks before being reevaluated again.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 1, 2014
Report: Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw could be out until May http://t.co/bJkqKVRNZv
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 1, 2014
Talking with people in and around #Dodgers organization last night and this morning, there is a belief that Kershaw could be out until June
— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonVBN) April 2, 2014
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.