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Ellsbury gives timeline of injuries, treatment

07.10.10 at 12:53 pm ET
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TORONTO — Sitting in the visitors dugout at Rogers Centre prior to the Red Sox‘ game with the Blue Jays Saturday afternoon, Jacoby Ellsbury went through the timeline of both his rib injuries and the treatment he received while referencing notes written pieces of paper.. Some of the major points of the briefing (in which it was 10 minutes and 30 seconds before the first question was asked) were:

– Ellsbury said that injury suffered in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre in Kansas City — later diagnosed as four broken ribs — was described to him as a bruise, and when the outfielder asked for an MRI he was told that the team didn’t give MRIs for bruises.

– Six days after the injury he was prescribed Vicodin, Celebrex, and a shot as a “last-ditch effort” to get in the games without going on the disabled list, which Ellsbury said he didn’t want to go on.

– After a call to his agent, Scott Boras, Ellsbury was able to schedule an MRI, which he requested to be both for the front and back. The MRI showed that he had four broken ribs.

– After a period of time the front of his ribs — where the four broken ribs were found — felt better, but he still had a discomfort in his back. Ellsbury went on rehab assignments before coming back to the team, playing his first game off the DL, in Philadelphia. In that game in Philly he made a diving catch with the Red Sox medical staff later identified as the problem for his fractured rib in his back. He noted, however, that after the dive against the Phillies there was no symptom change.

– After feeling a sharp pain when taking extra swings in Tampa Bay, Ellsbury was looked at by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles. The determination was that he had a broken rib, which was what was the cause of the discomfort in his back. “With Dr. Yocum, what we were told was that that injury happened in Kansas City,” Ellsbury said.

– When asked about Kevin Youkilis‘ comments that Ellsbury should be with the team, the outfielder said, “I got the Red Sox blessing when I went (to Athletes Performance). The biggest thing is I was in constant contact with my teammates and constant contact with the medical staff and trainers — everybody. Obviously in the best-case scenario, yeah, I would like to be with the team, but for me to get better the Red Sox thought it be best if I went out to Arizona. I talked to them today and they said, ‘Yeah, we back you 100 percent. That’s what we thought was best for you and you getting back playing and being productive.”

– While no timetable for a return to the big league club was given, Ellsbury did take swings for the first time, Saturday, and was pleased with the results.

Here is a complete transcript of Ellsbury’s interview session:

I’m just happy to be back, be back with the team. It’s nice to see the guys. It’s nice to see the guys have stepped up and have done a tremendous job. I kind of want to talk about the timeline from the incident with Adrian to basically right now.

Basically the collision with Adrian in Kansas City. Got X-rayed. Went out. Was told it was a bruise. Had the off day in Minnesota. Once I was told it was a bruise I was hoping to wake up and play in Minnesota. On the off day in Minnesota I came in, got my treatment. I was looking forward from spring training to lead off in the new stadium. When I missed that game [it] was very disappointing, just to miss one game.

Fast forward six days later, this is kind of the point I either go on the DL or I kind of start playing in some games. I was on vocodin, on celebrex, and I got a tortal shot to try and play in that game six days after. It was just a last ditch effort to get in the game. It wasn’t working. Was placed on the DL. Didn’t want to go on the DL. It was OK that I keep that medicine. That was fine because I didn’t want to go on the DL. Hey let’s just go out there, give everything you got, try and be in the game.

A couple of days go by. It’s not really getting any better. Still have the sharp pains breathing and also have a sharp pain in my back. A couple more days go by and I ask the Red Sox for an MRI. I was told exactly we aren’t going to MRI a bruise. That was his exact words, we aren’t going to MRI a bruise. OK, that’s alright. I’m going to tough it out and keep on going. A couple more days go by, nothing. Just the same. Wake up in the morning. Tough to get out of bed. You’re rolling over trying to do everything you can to play. Call my agent, he gets on the phone with the Red Sox. Next day, MRI. Go in get my MRI.

Before the MRI I specifically asked for a front and back MRI. That’s where the pain was, front and back. That’s important to remember that. Front and back, that’s what I asked for. WIthin minutes of the results that came, they saw four broken ribs in the front. When I heard that, it was OK, it made sense because that’s where I had been feeling. It was unfortunate that I had to miss a little more time.

Fast forward a little bit. Find out I had broken ribs. Rest up, feel a little bit better. Chest feels a little bit better. Still have that pain in my back but I’m being told that it’s just part of the healing process and there’s probably something between the ribs being banged up, you’re going to feel that pain in the back. Getting closer to a rehab start. The four broken ribs are feeling a little bit better. The back, still feeling it. The Red Sox and I decide it’s time for me to get a rehab start. I’m going to go out there and I’m at a point where I can help the team win. I’m understanding that. The ribs are healing. Anything that happens. The only way I can re-injure the four ribs in front is if I had a similar impact like I did. So I’m pretty confident. But I’m still having that pain in the back, so I’m like that’s just something I have to play with.

Play in the rehab games, play every other day. I felt pretty good to play. My back’s still barking but I’m on the understanding that it’s a bruise. First game back in Philly I have the diving catch. Landed awkwardly, made the catch, popped right back up, thought, ‘Wow, it felt pretty good.’ Front ribs felt pretty good. Still have the same pain in the back. No symptom change whatsoever. Go to Tampa. Play two games in Tampa and felt the same. Ribs still felt pretty good in the front, had discomfort in the back. Had a scheduled off day. Tito gave a scheduled off day, didn’t ask for it. Played three games in a row, OK.

I wanted to get some extra work with Mags in the cage. Well, while doing extra work with Mags, I felt a tremendous pain in my lat area. We get the MRI, get it in the front, get it on the side. I still had that back pain. The MRI basically comes up that they didn’€™t see anything. But I’€™m placed on the DL. Obviously, it’€™s something I didn’€™t want to have happen. I wanted to play. I wanted to be part of the team. They didn’€™t see anything, but I’€™m placed on the DL again. I wanted to get back. I wanted to play. I wanted to be part of the game. I love playing. It was tough for me to go back on the DL. I definitely didn’€™t want that to happen.

Fast-forward, basically, to Cleveland. I don’€™t know the exact days or anything. Fast-forward to Cleveland. It’€™s been a couple of weeks. The symptoms are getting worse. I’€™m not really doing anything, and the symptoms are getting worse. I’€™m like, ‘€˜What the heck? The symptoms are getting worse.’€™ Now my breathing is starting to come back. That was something that was gone. My breathing starts to affect me again. The pain is moving around. The Red Sox and I agreed ‘€“ they were on board with this ‘€“ that I should go see Dr. Yocum in California. They’€™re on board with it. I was happy to go out there to say, ‘€˜Hey,’€™ see what was going on. I get the MRI. I get a front and back MRI ‘€“ front and back. He gets the results, and he says the front ribs are healing good ‘€“ which I had no problem with. They felt good to me. We just wanted to make sure.

Well, the back MRI results came back that I had a broken rib. The rib was from the original injury with Adrian. As a result of me playing with the broken ribs ‘€“ through all the rehab starts, I had the broken rib, and all the games I played in the big leagues, I had the broken rib ‘€“ the MRI also showed I’€™d strained my lat. I’€™d strained my lat playing with the broken rib just because my muscles were trying to compensate for that rib. I had inflamed nerves surrounding the rib. That was a new finding. The doctors that I saw previously, I’€™d gotten the different opinions, the back was never MRI’€™ed. To my understanding, it had been. Now we need to make a decision with the Red Sox where I’€™m going to go to rehab this. The Red Sox agreed, they were in favor, they were happy that I was going to go API and rehab my lat, my nerve and my rib. It sounds like a lot, but we’€™re rehabbing that.

Obviously, I wanted what was best for the team. I didn’€™t’€™ want this to be (searches) a distraction. I didn’€™t want to be a distraction to the team. That’€™s the last thing I wanted. My teammates know that I’€™m here, I’€™m supporting them, I work hard. I lay it on the line. That’€™s the last thing I wanted, was to be a distraction. But the Red Sox, they were in favor of me going out there. They gave me the blessing to go out there. While I was out at API every single day, they would get a report of exactly what I did ‘€“ the weight, the time, every detail was submitted to them every single day. I was in constant contact with my teammates, Tito, the medical staff, the coaches. Everybody has been pretty good while I was out there. Fast-forward to right now. It’€™s good to be back. It’€™s good tl be back with the team. I’€™m definitely very excited about it. It’€™s nice to see, like I said, the guys step up and keep us in the race. I’€™ve definitely been watching the games: If I’€™m not watching them on TV, I’€™m keeping up online and staying in contact with everybody.

(How would the treatment have been different had you known about the back rib from the start?) After the injury in Tampa, I was getting worse. By me missing (rehab) time and it getting worse, it just multiplies the situation.

(You’€™re saying that the team saying that the Philadelphia dive caused the back rib fracture is inaccurate?) With Dr. Yocum, what we were told was that that injury happened in Kansas City.

(You had scans on your back before that final scan?) My understanding was ‘€“ when I went in there, I specifically asked, and this is 12 days after the injury, I specifically asked for a front MRI and a back MRI. That’€™s what I was under the impression. They told me, ‘€˜Hey, don’€™t worry. We’€™re going to cover all the areas. We’€™re going to cover more.’€™ ‘€˜Great. That’€™s perfect. That’€™s exactly what I want. I’€™ve already been out 12 days. I’€™ve got all the time in the world to sit in the machine. Let’€™s run all the tests. Let’€™s get this MRI.’€™

(Regarding the Scan on your back)  ‘€œMy understanding was when I went in there I specifically asked for, and this is 12 days after the injury, I specifically asked for a front MRI and back MRI. That’€™s the impression I was under. They told me, ‘€˜Hey, don’€™t worry we’€™re going to cover all the areas. We’€™re going to cover more.’€™ Great, that’€™s perfect. That’€™s exactly what I want. I’€™ve already been out 12 days and I’€™ve got all the time in the world to sit in the machine and let’€™s get this thing right.’€

(On perception that you took too long to come back) ‘€œI had the Red Sox blessing and I stayed in constant contact with my teammates. I was watching all the games and I think it’€™s important that I get the information out and move on. That’€™s the biggest thing, I want to move on and be a baseball player. I want to help this team win and I enjoy being with these guys.’€

(The best-case scenario as to when you can play again) ‘€œThe timeline was, with the Red Sox, everything was laid out as a plan when I went to API and they knew exactly when I could do baseball activities that I would be rejoining the team. I swung for the first time today and I’€™m definitely very happy to swing. It’€™s controlled, nice and easy off the tee. I did some running, so it’€™s nice to get back to baseball activities. From here, I’€™ll be with the team for the next two days and then I’€™ll head to Fort Myers for the All-Star break because I want to get more work. I don’€™t want to be stagnant. I want to get some work in and keep progressing. I feel very good right now. The next step is to do baseball activities and hopefully once I feel good there I’€™ll play in some rehab games and then be back up.’€

(How is the pain the front and back) ‘€œThe front feels pretty good. When I made my rehab starts it felt pretty good. To me, I’€™ve felt pretty good about that. It’€™s always been the back that I felt afterwards and during. It feels a lot better. I think I can make strides now. Now that I’€™m here and doing baseball activities, that’€™s the biggest things and I’€™m excited to be here.’€

(When do you think you will be back) ‘€œThat’€™s the timeline the Red Sox and I are going to talk about. Obviously I’€™m doing everything they say and everything they tell me. Every day we’€™re pushing to keep on improving and that’€™s what we’€™ll talk about.’€

(What was it like being away from the team) ‘€œObviously you want to be with your teammates. You’€™re here with your teammates more than you’€™re with your family. You care about your teammates, not just in a baseball sense, but from a personal standpoint. With all the injuries I would call the guys and see how they were doing and see where their heads are at and rooting them on. Obviously I wasn’€™t with them, but I was their biggest fan from afar. I’€™ve very happy, despite the injuries we’€™ve had, that we’€™re still in it.’€

(On Youkilis’ statements) ‘€œI got the Red Sox blessing when I went there. The biggest thing is I was in constant contact with my teammates and constant contact with the medical staff and trainers ‘€“ everybody. Obviously in the best-case scenario, yeah, I would like to be with the team, but for me to get better, the Red Sox thought it be best if I went out to Arizona. I talked to them today and they said, ‘€˜Yeah, we back you 100 percent. That’€™s what we thought was best for you and you getting back playing and being productive.’€™’€

(Baseball activities) ‘€œHitting, throwing, running, just doing normal stuff. The stuff you would normally see guys doing before a game. Running, stretching and I’€™ve pretty much covered all the bases today.’€

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