Monday, September 04, 2006

Red Sox SP John Lester May Be Out Until 2008

Knowing all too well that Red Sox pitcher John Lester's cancer advances further every day, doctors have already hastened the rookie's chemotherapy regimen. But no matter how quickly the treatment was begun, hopes that Lester will be back soon are wishful thinking at best. Though teammates are looking forward to seeing him next spring, the chances of him being ready to pitch by then are very remote. Suffering from one of the many varieties of non-Hodgekins lymphoma, Lester's chances for recovery are good, but not without great difficulty for many more months. Lester likely will not be ready to pitch in the majors until the end of 2007, very possibly 2008, if indeed he ever pitches again. Even with youth and athleticism on his side, his chemotherapy treatments will have the inevitable side effect of weakening his immune defenses, making him vulnerable to virtually hundreds of opportunistic maladies, from common infections and colds to pneumonia and other forms of cancer. Moreover, the treatments will cause Lester's stomach lining and intestinal walls to be weakened, making it difficult for him to injest nutrients, thus leading to prolonged loss of strength, muscle mass and body weight.