Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hanley Ramirez Optimistic About Return to Marlins

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez's prediction that he would return to action within three days of separating his shoulder would seem almost laughable, if it were not for the seriousness of the injury.

Normal players would measure time lost due to a shoulder subluxation in weeks and months, not days; just ask Richie Sexson of the Mariners or Derek Jeter of the Yankees.

Ramirez is a special case, however, falling within a very small category of individuals with trick shoulders that have a history of popping in and out of place. Whereas a normal person might be laid up for three or four months or more because of such an injury, those like Ramirez can put the pieces back together and are good to go -- with relatively little discomfort.

The problem is, these individuals might be burger flippers, bus drivers, candlestick makers or what-have-you, not professional athletes. Rough-and-tumble lifestyles require extra caution.

If Ramirez makes good on his prediction to return to action immediately, he is putting his career at risk by exposing himself to a potential recurrence. The more often his shoulder is thrown out, the greater jeopardy of his being debilitated by a degenerative shoulder capsule.

The best course of action for Ramirez is either to opt for surgery to tighten the shoulder now, or immobilize it for three weeks, then enter into a rehabilitative process that would keep him out for most or all of the remainder of the season.

In either case, the shoulder will remain problemsome for years to come.

Doctors have warned Ramirez of the advisability of going on the disabled list, though Ramirez's bravado suggests he will refuse; after all, it's his body, his call.

Though Ramirez plans to return to action now, the weekend would be plenty soon enough. But it's well within the realm of possibility that Ramirez yet will do the sensible thing if he values his future. In such a case Ramirez would be out at least until September.