Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Reds Josh Hamilton's Outlook Peculiar, Troubling

As Reds outfielder Josh Hamilton enters his third week of inactivity following a peculiar, unexplained wrist injury, his muscles are becoming weaker and weaker, with the prospects for his immediate return more and more remote.

Assuming the injury is no more than a difficult sprain -- an open question at best -- Hamilton will need at least two weeks of rehabilitation, and even then might need more time to recover his swing.

That means that even if Hamilton were to come back within the next 10 days, it would be well into August before he could resume patrolling center field at Great American Ballpark, and even then would be challenged to recover his timing at the plate.

Missing time into September would not appear to be out of the question, although that would be a worst case scenario.

More troubling are reports out of the trainer's room that doctors are puzzled as to what exactly is wrong with Hamilton, as various tests and examinations have proved inconclusive. The most peculiar aspect is the nature of trauma that precipitated the injury, supposedly merely swinging a bat. That could prove to be a red flag, indicating a fundamental or even congenital structural failure or weakness.

Major media outlets have incorrectly reported that Hamilton has had his wrist in a cast, but in fact he is wearing his third splint, indicating doctors are uncertain exactly what position would be best to immobilize the injury for accelerated healing.