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Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has surgery scheduled for Nov. 12 in Arizona to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, but the procedure may be a bit more complicated than originally thought.
According to the second baseman, who had an MRI on his thumb Tuesday, the surgeon, Dr. Donald Sheridan, may need to take a tendon from his wrist to reattach the thumb ligament.
"I guess because I played with [the injury] the whole year, it's made it a little tougher," Pedroia explained. "If they do the normal surgery, there has to be some good endings [of the ligament] to re-attach it. If there's not, we have to do it a different way."
Pedroia described the alternate procedure as "kind of like Tommy John surgery that pitchers have, only with my thumb."
"They made it seem like it's no big deal," Pedroia said. "It may cost me an extra couple of weeks longer to recover, that's all.
"I should be fine for spring training."
Pedroia said he expects to be sidelined between 4-6 weeks or 6-8 weeks depending on which procedure Sheridan chooses.
When the ulnar collateral ligament is torn, the joint that is affected is the Metacarpophalangeal joint, or MCP joint. It is not uncommon for surgeons to graft in new tissue from the wrist to reconstruct the thumb ligaments, according to the Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine website. The procedure is referred to as "fusion" surgery and is designed to prevent the MCP joint from moving.
Pedroia conceded that while the injury to his thumb made for a long, painful season (he injured it the first game of the year sliding head-first into first base), he learned quickly how to compensate for it.
Although he hit just nine home runs, his lowest total since 2007, he still played a career-high 160 games, won his third Gold Glove, batted .301 and got to hold another World Series trophy aloft.
"Everyone pitches me away, which I absolutely hate," Pedroia said. "But when I hurt my thumb, I couldn't hit the ball in. So, they were actually doing me a favor pitching me away so I could slap at some balls.
"It was a grind some days, but my teammates were great at picking me up just at the right time. Besides, I didn't want to miss out. I knew from Day 1 this was a special season."