Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Lingering Effects for Blue Jays Vernon Wells

That Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells so suddenly returned from a so-called "broken wrist" should come as no surprise to readers of MLB News Online, which reported exclusively on May 13 that Wells' injury report was bogus.

If Wells actually had a "broken wrist" as the team claimed, his arm would still be in a cast today and most of the remainder of his season would be in doubt, as the rehabilitative regimen resulting from extensive immobilization would have been significant.

That means now that little residual effect should linger from the injury -- a mere sprain -- and Wells can be expected to recover his normal capabilities immediately without significant risk of relapse.

The Blue Jays original bogus report was carried by mainstream media after Wells was said to be disabled for a minimum of six to eight weeks as the result of hurting himself while diving to catch a fly ball.

The initial radiograph failed to show a fracture, yet someone on the staff ordered a superfluous magnetic resonance imaging test that turned up a false positive.

As has been repeatedly opined in this venue before, the "gold-standard" textbook definition of a fracture is one found in a good old-fashioned X-ray, not a CAT scan or MRI.

In only the most unusual of circumstances will a CT scan or MRI be called for to look for a clinically important (read: important) fracture. The wrist is not one of them. Every physician knows that if every musculoskeletal extremity injury with a negative X-ray were run through the CT or MRI, numerous fractures would be "discovered."