Physician Explains Why Phillies’ Bryce Harper Wants Surgical procedure

Bryce Harper’s broken left thumb, injured last week against the Padres, is threatening to seriously halt the Phillies’ playoff push.

Harper is in the midst of another MVP-level season with the Phils despite competing with an elbow injury, but he is expected to miss somewhere in the vicinity for six weeks according to a Tuesday report from NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury.

READ: Harper will have thumb surgery, not expected to miss the season

To get an idea of ​​what we should expect from our recovery and to better understand why Harper will be sidelined for so long, we asked Dr. J. Milo Sewards, Chair of the Department of Surgery. Orthopedic and Sports Medicine at the School of Medicine at Temple University, to give us an expert’s opinion on the broken thumb and what Harper will spend the next six weeks doing.

Sewards isn’t all that gloomy and bleak, but he confirmed that witnessing the injury looked “really disturbing” – not exactly the description Phils fans hoped for.

“When you break your thumb, you worry about grip strength, you worry about grip, and so definitely this has to do with the end of the season,” explained Sewards.

“The thumb itself is a particularly important finger. In other fingers there are bones that can break and you can tape them to another finger, but with the thumb, when you break a bone there, sure It will definitely affect your grip.”

MORE: Phillies swap ideas with Bryce Harper for six weeks

Sewards explains that while a fracture in the hand or finger can be treated without surgery, as originally hoped for Harper’s injury, its problem presents a problem: no be sure of the time when the bone is completely healed. X-rays do not always show complete healing even when patients are pain-free and most have regained function in their hands or fingers, Sewards said.

“For an athlete, you may want surgery to ensure stability of the fracture and possibly return sooner,” says Sewards.

As part of the surgery, Harper will have “very small implants” designed to avoid irritating the soft tissues around the fracture, Sewards explained. The goal, he said, is to leave the implants in the finger permanently.

If all goes well, Sewards thinks the reported six-week timeline makes sense for Harper’s return.

“Braces around the hands tend to heal a little faster than in other parts of the body,” says Sewards, “and like I said, X-rays tend to be a little later.

“So even if you can see the fracture, which may not happen after you immobilize it, you would expect him to be able to move it sooner than he would if it were treated.” without surgery and started working on his grip strength and getting back to swinging in about six weeks.”

Salisbury reported on Tuesday that having Harper back and healthy on September 1 would be a “win” for the team. Currently, the Phillies are standing at 39-36, three games away from the last position of the NL Wild Card. From Wednesday to the first of September, the Phils will play 55 games, or 33.9% of the entire regular season. At that point, there will be only 30 matches left on the schedule.

It won’t be easy, but the Phils have to make it work somehow while their best player recovers – and hopefully prepare for a post-season frenzy when he returns. .

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