THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, September 11-16

NOTE: The focus of this column is analysis, so we don't cover the progress of every injured player. We try to highlight the key fantasy contributors, unusual injuries, or situations where the official projected return is variable or not given. Players whose progress is proceeding as expected are very well covered by fantasy news sources; we'll tend to leave those players alone unless we have something we want to add to the news coverage. This column is updated on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

Last week's column (September 4-9)

 

September 16, 2019

Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) – R ankle sprain (9/15/19) – QUICK TAKE
The X-rays were negative, so it's a sprain, but no news yet on the extent. Looking at the video here, it appears to be a Grade 1 or 2 sprain. Either would keep him out until the playoffs if the Cubs make it).
2019 Impact: Possibility that he misses the rest of the regular season
Est. Return: Early October (best estimate)

Mike Fiers (RHP, OAK) – R arm, nerve irritation (9/14/19)
Has the nerve been bothering him for a while? Does it explain this?

All kidding aside, these kinds of issues rarely resolve in less than two weeks. There’s a very small chance he could make his next start, but it’s more likely that he returns the last week to make one more start before the playoffs.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; unknown extent; variable return time
Est. Return: Sep. 25 or later (most likely)

Josh Bell (1B, PIT) – Groin strain (9/13/19)
They’re saying it’s “more than day-to-day,” which means it’s a strain, not a “tweak” or anything that sounds less serious. Typical recovery here is 2-3 weeks, and there’s no reason for them to rush him back. It’s possible that he feels better in a week or so and plays, but he could easily aggravate the injury if he does. This is not a good situation for Bell owners.
2019 Impact: High risk; variable return time
Est. Return: September 21-22, maybe

Tommy La Stella (3B, LAA) – R leg fracture (7/2/19) UPDATE
We initially covered his injury here. At the time, we speculated that he might not be right until 2020 and now it looks like he might not be back until then. He’s still experiencing linger pain in his leg and there’s little time for that to improve. There’s also little reason for the Angels to rush him back.
2019 Impact: Likely out
2020 Impact: Very small risk of lingering issues

Mike Trout (OF, LAA) – R toe, nerve issue (9/5/19) UPDATE
Well, we had high hopes that he would be able to make it back, but after a valiant attempt, he’s elected surgery to remove a Morton’s neuroma from his toe (see below for an explanation of the condition). While hit hasn’t been announced yet that he’s out for the season, he pretty much is. The prognosis is unclear: in one study, 75%-85% of patients who had surgery saw their pain reduced. A second, smaller study showed that 96% of surgical subjects saw improvement. That leaves maybe a 10% chance that this is an ongoing issue for him.
2019 Impact: Pretty much done
2020 Impact: Small chance he’s still battling this come spring

 

September 14, 2019

Christian Yelich (OF, MIL) – L kneecap, fracture (9/10/19)
Breathe easy if you’re in a keeper league; this was a non-displaced fracture, meaning no surgery is needed. (Had he needed surgery, the recovery time would have been up to 11 months.) He’ll wear a brace for about six weeks, at which point he may be able to resume baseball-like activities. The total recovery time is 8-10 weeks, which pushes him past the end of the World Series but leaves him just fine for his offseason program and next season.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: Minimal

Shohei Ohtani (DH, LAA) – L knee surgery (9/12/19)
He was diagnosed with a bipartite patella, which means that his kneecap consists of two bones instead of the usual one. This is an uncommon anomaly. As a child’s body develops, the cartilage and bone in the kneecap eventually fuse into one piece, but for a small fraction, the bone doesn’t fill in completely, leaving two bony pieces joined by a tough piece of cartilage. This is called a synchondrosis. For most people, it’s never even diagnosed, because it functions perfectly fine. However, if a lost of stress is put on the knee, as with a professional athlete, the synchondrosis can become inflamed and cause pain. The surgery will depend on the topography of his knee. They may remove the second piece of bone if it’s small enough, or they may insert a screw to hold the two pieces together more tightly. The surgery is usually successful—in one study, 88% of patients saw reduced pain, and 98% were able to resume normal activities (though it’s unlikely that many of the subjects were professional athletes). The recovery time will depend on what needs to be done, but 3-4 months is likely the worst-case scenario. There is some risk, of course, the biggest of which is that the surgery doesn’t fully correct the problem. Plus, he’s now had several major health issues over the past five years, making him a very high injury risk going forward.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: Elevate risk from the surgery and very high risk overall

Rich Hill (LHP, LA) – L knee sprain (9/12/19)
He sprained his MCL, the ligament inside the knee joint that helps hold the joint together. They haven’t talked about the severity, but it’s very unlikely that he will pitch again in the regular season. For a mild sprain, we’d expect something like 3-4 weeks before the player can return. There’s a possibility he could return for the playoffs, but his fantasy season is all but over. He’s also 39 years old, has a long line of injuries, and has struggled to get on the field this season. That doesn’t bode well for 2020 and beyond.
2019 Impact: Likely out
2020 Impact: Very high risk if he comes back

Nick Senzel (OF, CIN) – R shoulder, labrum tear (9/12/19)
Well, at least it’s not a knee, right? He probably wishes it was. The labrum is spongy, cartilage-like tissue that lines the socket of the shoulder. It cushions and lubricates the shoulder and also helps keep everything aligned. Damage to the tissue can cause scarring, which can interfere with its function even once it’s fully healed. Labrum tears can end pitching careers, but the prognosis for hitters is much better. Unfortunately, the history of hitters returning is quite mixed—some bounce back quickly, some struggle at first but eventually return to form, and some are never the same. The extent and location of the damage is important. It’s his right shoulder, and any permanent damage could restrict its mobility, preventing him from following through completely as he swings. If he struggles early on, the shoulder will be highly suspect, but for now, this is all speculation. At this point, just realize that he’s very high risk.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: Undetermined; Extreme risk

Johan Camargo (3B, ATL) – R leg fracture (9/12/19)
It’s a bad week for legs in general. He fouled a ball off his shin and X-rays revealed a fracture. The team hasn’t said how long he’ll be out, but it would be unusual for him to need less than six weeks. That puts him out until the World Series, if they should make it that far.
2019 Impact: Out for the regular season
2020 Impact: Minimal

 

September 11, 2019

Javy Baez (INF, CHC) – L thumb fracture (9/2/19)
This hurts, literally and metaphorically. The Cubs dithered about for a week before getting more testing done, and he's now all but done for the regular season. Even if he made it back for a few playoff tune-up PA, you don't want those on your stat line.
2019 Impact: Effectively done for the season
Est. Return: Wild-card game, maybe

Reyes Moronta (RHP, SF) – R shoulder surgery (9/11/19)
We doubt he's in most of your 2019 plans, let alone 2020 plans, but this is about the worst news a pitcher can get. His chances of success will depend on the location and extent of the damage, as will his recovery time. We would recommend avoiding him until he's all the way back.
2019 Impact: Out
2020 Impact: Extreme risk; High probability of reduced effectiveness and PT
Est. Return: May-August 2020, maybe

Kris Bryant (3B, CHC) – R knee soreness (July-ish) UPDATE
He received a cortisone shot, which may help him recover some use of his knee the rest of the way. The effects usually kick in in a day or two, so if he doesn't show improvement in the next few days, treat him as damaged goods the rest of the way.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; potential for reduced PT and production
Est. Return: Sep. 11-14, though how health he'll be is am open question

Mike Trout (OF, LAA) – R toe, nerve issue (9/5/19)
It's taken a while to get the full picture of what's wrong with him. He has a neuroma in his foot, which is best described as excess nerve tissue that puts pressure on the nerve, causing pain and other discomfort. He underwent a cryoablation procedure, which freezes some of the tissues, relieving the pressure on the nerve. These procedures are low-risk and have a high rate of success. Recovery is usually a few days, and he had the procedure on Monday (Sept. 9) so he could be back at any time. There's a risk that his pain is not entirely gone, but there's still a good chance he can return to form quickly.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: Sep. 11-13


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.