Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

July 18, 12:57 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning everyone and welcome to the injury chat on this lovely Friday! Hopefully the All-Star Break provided some much needed rest...but as always, the injury questions continue heading into the second half. Oh - and football is right around the corner!!

Chad (Ontario)

What do you think about the Peyton Manning injury? Will he be 100% for week 1 and should he be healthy enough to play all 16 games this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Hi Chad: Hurray - it's almost football time! Love this time of year. As for Peyton, the reason for the sudden surgery is that his bursa was infected. No fooling around with infection so they have to remove it, wash it out and put him on antibiotics. The biggest concerns early on are the healing of the wound post-op and making sure there is no more infection. To that end, they will limit his activity pretty much until the wound is healed and stitches are out. But the 4-6 weeks they have projected should give him plenty of time to recover and, barring infection, this should completely resolve. Never like to predict someone will last all 16 games, but I don't think it will be this knee that gives him trouble.

Jay (LA)

Papi homers...and a sigh of relief....any comments? ..also, which injured Stl SP makes a difference...Carpenter (starting rehab this week?), Wainwright or none of the above...

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

Hi Jay: Love to see Papi hitting again. I think we see him back for the Yankees series 7/25 (how classic is that timing?). Carpenter and Wainwright are on track to come back around the same time. I think Carpenter contributes, but am always wary of too high expectations immeidately after tommy john. If Wainwright has no setbacks, I say he's the one who returns to form soonest.

Ron (NYC)

Hi Stephania, WHat are your thoughts on Vernon Wells injury? Is 4 weeks a minimum? Thanks.. you the woman.

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Hi Ron: Love being the woman. Yes, 4 weeks is a real minimum. Grade II hamstring strain AND the injury is located near the knee, tendon area - harder to heal. I think it's more like the 6 weeks, or even a little longer.

Matt (Nashville)

What's the prognosis on Dustin McGowan? Will the Jays bring him back at all this year, or just shelf him and let him get healty?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Hi Matt: Continuing with the Blue Jays theme. All we've heard is that it will be at least a month of rehab for him - but his is a bit harder to predict. All depends on how long the inflammation takes to settle and there being no setbacks. So it could be a bit longer. I think their intent, if rehab is uneventful, is indeed to bring him back this year.

Fred (Philly)

Pedro Martinez/Roy Oswalt... hips-a-hurtin... are either 100% the rest of the season? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Hi Fred: Yes indeed - hip - type problems (sort of) here for both. My concern with OSwalt is that he has had back pain in conjunction with this (supposedly a disc problem), has had an injection and is still hurting. These types of things tend to be more chronic, lingering. Pedro's situation a little confusing. I'm hearing groin, but also hip (as in he had an injection in his hip) and it looks like he'll miss at least his next start, but they're hoping no DL will be required. Need to stay tuned on that one.

joe (MA)

bedard and harang - hopeless? heard unoptimistic reports about both this morning...

Stephania Bell
  (11:20 AM)

Hi Joe: Well I wouldn't go so far as to call Harang hopeless, it's just that his forearm apparently isn't quite ready to go. He was re-evaluated by the medical staff yesterday and it looks like his time away may extend past the 15 day minimum. Caution is wise hear to ensure he doesn't alter his mechanics and end up with a joint problem that he doesn't have right now. Bedard on the other hand, much less certain. His shoulder (his latest ailment) apparently bothering him enough that his original return (late July) is now questionable and the Mariners are not issuing an expected return date. With all of his issues this year, he presents a bigger risk to me.

Jason (Omaha, NE)

How about Zimmerman. Will he be helpful this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Hi Jason: Zimmerman's big concern was whether the shoulder would allow him to hit hard. He's doing pretty well in his rehab assignment so far, about to head to Triple-A and if all goes well, could look at a major league return in another week to ten days. If he comes back within that time frame, I think it's encouraging, but he's still a big swing and a miss from aggravating that shoulder (remember he did not have surgery so the problem inside the shoulder still remains). There is some underlying risk there, but as long as he's in the lineup you get the reward. Just be prepared to get insurance.

Andy (St. Louis)

Do you think Blalock will be useful from this point forward or is he another injury waiting to happen? I'd hate to drop a decent player to activage Blalock only to see him go back on the DL or be ineffective. Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Hi Andy: Well, given his history I have to be concerned about Blalock being a repeat injury risk, especially since I suspect a relationship between his latest wrist injury and last year's rib resection surgery. I am surprised to learn also that he will be returning to third base which will be harder on the arm. I'd be watching him from a distance for now.

Justin (Farmington, CT)

Hi Stephania, I just received Jerry Hairston Jr. in a trade. You can imagine my disappointment to see him go on the DL last night. Any word on his diagnosis, and how long do you think he will miss?

Stephania Bell
  (11:30 AM)

Hi Justin: Sounds like my kind of luck. But, depsite how serious it looked when he was carried off the field, Hairston's MRI reportedly showed only a mild strain. That being said he tried to run and it did not feel good so the decision was made to really completely rest it. I always think the hamstring strains take a little longer to heal, I wouldn't be surprised if an extra week or so gets tacked on, but I do expect him back.

Dave (NY)

Do you think Furcal will comeback this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Hi Dave: no, I don't - I don't plan on it - and I wouldn't for fantasy purposes...BUT there is a possibility if the Dodgers are in the hunt and he really is doing well in his recovery that he makes a very late season appearance. I sure wouldn't count on it though. No reason to risk him post-back surgery unnecessarily.

Jay (LA)

Stashed Liriano on the bench...with his last 2 months in AAA, are you still concerned on being too optomistic with his post ASB performance?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Hi Jay: No - I think the extra work he's gotten has helped what he needed. Improved command, location (decreasing his walks) - still working on velocity, but much better than where he was. He does need a rotation spot to open up though but I think you see a different Liriano than the one at the start of the season.

Will (The OC)

Your analysis is one of a kind on the web. Will Saito be a no-go for the rest of '08?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Thanks Will in the OC: I doubt we will see Saito again in '08. Sprained elbow ligament - never good - sort of the precursor to the "blown out" elbow ligament that needs surgery. The approach is always to try conservative rehab first, and so that is the plan - and it is a six week minimum. When you do the math, and knowing the type of injury (and the notion that you can have setbacks), it just doesn't sound like we will see him again this year.

Ben (Florida)

Is Chad Johnson's ankle injury going to linger through the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Hi Ben - Football!! The hope is that the surgery that he had will keep his ankle from bothering him all season, but of course the fact that he had to have it tells you there is some wear and tear on the joints there that is problematic. He is still limited in terms of activity, and may not be 100% when training camp starts, but I think he'll be full speed and ready to go by the time we get to the season opener.

Mark (Naperville, Illinois)

Do you think Victor Martinez will make a comeback

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Hi Mark: Yep - I expect him back (he had elbow surgery). He has been cleared to start baseball activities next week so once we actually see him swing a bat and throw a ball we may be better able to project his return date, but his projection has always put him at late July, early August. I would target the second week of August right now.

Starbury2Starphania (New York)

In general, when an athlete comes back from an injury, at what point during the return does the confidence factor go way up that the athlete has fully recovered? For instance, JJ Putz is coming back soon. At what point would you declare him fully healthy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Hi Starbury: Love the way you worked the names there - you are a podcast listener I see - great question btw. It soooo depends on the injury. The tough ones for me are (in general of course) the back injuries, because they are often non-specific and tend to recur, and the elbow ligament injuries (because they usually are a matter of time to complete failure, but you never quite know what the timetable will be). The wrist/hand injuries are often ones where we see a delay between tissue healing (i.e. fractured finger, we know the bone is fully healed, but the athlete doesn't quite have the strength to hit for power). For Putz, he falls into that risky category where he may return but I'm not sure I'd declare him "fully healthy" even if he performs well - until i see a handful of outings.

Ben (Omaha)

I'm holding tight at the top of my baseball league and have Jason Schmidt holding in my DL spot, do you expect anything out of him this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Ben: Time to move on. I love Schmidt but he has had so many setbacks this year. I don't expect anything.

Evan (New York)

What is the deal with Phil Hughes?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Evan: The deal is that at least he's started throwing off a mound, but in a limited fashion. The expectation is sometime in August - but no specific timetable has been set b/c they're looking at how he responds to each increment of throwing. Not much help I know - but it's what we've got.

Nick(Greenwich, CT)

Hey Stephania! What's the prognosis on Hideki Matsui? Will he need season-ending surgery? What would you suggest?

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Hi Nick: It's not looking good. The swelling is sticking around. Matsui is reportedly headed to the team's Florida facility and will be examined by team docs and a decision will be made. But given the length of time, the fact that it has not resolved, and knowing he's had knee problems for a while (and he had the offseason surgery in the other knee, which did help him with that one), it all points to season-ending surgery. Without seeing him myself, it's hard to throw in my two cents, but certainly based on what's been tried so far and the lack of progress, it looks like the right decision.

Richie (SF)

Follow up to the earlier Ortiz question. He will be back but will he come back performing at his pre-injury level?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Hi Richie: this is always the question, especially with the wrist injuries and a big power hitter. I think the gradual return of Papi and the fact that they have progressed his swings so slowly bode well for his return to pre-injury form. Maybe even better b/c remember his knee was giving him a bit of trouble at the start of the year, and he says he has had some good additional rest and rehab for the knee while recovering with the wrist. Also, the location of his tendon sheath injury makes me less concerned that is significantly impacts his grip and swing. And he hit a HR in his first rehab assignment. Yes, it's the minors, but it's not a bad way to start off.

Mitch( NY)

Before you leave can you give an update on Tulowitzki?

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Hi Mitch: He's playing in rehab games with a return targeted for Monday. His outings haven't been stellar though, symptomatic of what he's been struggling with when he's been playing this season. I don't attribute that to the hand either.


Stephania (bella), Will C.Youngs have any stamina problems to overcome (breathing), or do you see a decent second half for him? Gracie

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Hello Santino: Well the good news is that Young looked strong in a rehab start, throwing 3+ innings. I think he'll have to build up his endurance yet, but I was more concerned about how tough it would be for him to get back on the mound and face live hitters. Apparently he fielded some grounders nicely that were hit back to him, so that's a good sign. I think that when he does return (looks like late July), he will be ready to go full bore.

Another Ben (Philly)

Hiya Stephania! Football question for ya: Any word on Andre Johnson's knee? Or is no news basically good news with this one?

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Hi Ben: Sure, we'll end with a football question. Yes, no news is basically good news here. I want to see what he does when camp opens to really get a sense of how he looks, but I expect to see a strong Johnson with a ton of fantasy value this year.

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

OK everyone - I have to run. Thank you, thank you for the great questions. Have a wonderful weekend - and may all your starters stay healthy!!