He also said that if the team had taken a CT scan of the rib area sooner, Ellsbury wouldn't have been able to return to the lineup sooner but could have been spared some undeserved criticism.
"It wouldn't have gotten him back any quicker, but it would have helped managing the perception of the injury," said Epstein.
Ellsbury, who turned 27 on Sept. 11, was sidelined after suffering hairline fractures in the ribs on his left side following an April collision with teammate Adrian Beltre. Another rib fracture went undetected until after a premature return to action in August. He suffered yet another setback after a collision in August that ended his season.
"Jacoby took some unwarranted heat from a lot of different sources because it wasn't clear right from the get-go that the ribs were fractured," said Epstein. "All in all it became a lost season for Jacoby. Importantly, I don't think there's any residue of this going forward. I don't think these injuries will affect his career going forward. I expect him to pick up right where he left off when he comes back."
He said their relationship is intact and his view of the player hasn't changed. "I don't think there's any residue whatsoever or hard feelings. When I think of Jacoby, I think of a guy who got hurt, went through some tough times along the way, tried his best to come back and wasn't able to because of the severity of the injuries and the repeated nature of the injury."