While the Caleb Ferguson injury originally “did not present as UCL,” the worst has unfortunately been confirmed. Dave Roberts confirmed during tonight’s game that there is a tear in Ferguson’s UCL. This is very troubling news for Caleb Ferguson, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Dodgers fans around the world. Ferguson has certainly pitched his last pitch this season, regardless of the choice that he makes regarding his elbow.
This choice is between a second Tommy John surgery, since his first was before being drafted—while still in high school and platelet injections and therapy. The fact that there is a choice on the Ferguson injury is a good thing, because it shows that it is not a complete tear of his UCL. Since it is only a partial tear, there are other options besides surgery. A lot of good has come by players getting Plasma Rich Platelet Injections, along with rest and physical therapy.
Two Schools of Thought
There are two major schools of thought on the best path forward. The first is to say that it is better to have the surgery and get it over with so rehab can commence and return ASAP. This way, the injury is not just prolonged, and prolonged, and prolonged—ending with the inevitable Tommy John surgery. We saw this in the cases of Noah Syndergaard and Chris Sale, among many others. There are stories upon stories of athletes who tried to avoid surgery for many months, only to end up having the surgery. Further, there have been many pitchers who have had multiple Tommy John surgeries and done very well—Hong-Chih Kuo and Jose Rijo, to name a couple.
The Other Side
The other side of the coin is that going under the knife should be done as an absolute last resort. This means that every alternative needs to be explored prior to electing to undergo surgery. Surgery is serious, and you are cutting into your body and making serious alterations. Taking one piece of your anatomy and moving it to another place is always serious. It will definitely affect the anatomy and physiology of the patient. That is a fact. It is also why these athletes who rely on their bodies, skills, and abilities, may be hesitant to alter them.
It is easy to sit back and say that Ferguson should or should not just move forward with a second Tommy John. The fact is, that Ferguson has a big decision to make. It is always a tough decision to go under the knife, and regardless of what route he chooses, we wish Ferguson a speedy recovery.
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Michael Gray is a graduate of UCLA with major studies in philosophy and minor studies in finance. He did his graduate studies at CSU in San Bernardino, California for his MBA. Michael was a standout athlete from early in his childhood, through his college football days. He played baseball from ages 6-18, and 3 varsity sports in high school: Football, in which he was awarded a full-ride scholarship; Wrestling, where he was the CiF Heavyweight Champion, and two events on the Track & Field team in which he was league champion, and remains in the record books to this day.
Professionally, Michael continued his success in his 10 year Management Career, before settling in as Executive Vice-President/Private Equity Fund Manager at a West LA Commercial Investment firm.
Michael still manages a small private fund through his own company, and works with Seniors in a nonprofit organization that he co-founded, but he now spends a lot of his time watching, reading, and writing about baseball--his first love.