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Stephen Drew: ‘I wish I could give myself a timetable’ on concussion recovery

03.22.13 at 12:59 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew said that he gained considerable reassurance from a visit to Pittsburgh with Dr. Mickey Collins, a specialist who reviews thousands of concussions every year. The fact that Collins examined Drew and cleared him to return to baseball activity in Fort Myers — Drew is working out and commenced hitting in a cage and throwing, though he has yet to take grounders or hit on the field — gave the shortstop some peace-of-mind going forward that his recovery is progressing in the right direction.

What the visit did not do, however, was give Drew a timetable for when he’ll be ready to return to games. He is not yet symptom-free after getting hit on the helmet by a fastball on March 7, and so his baseball activities necessarily remain limited. While Collins prescribed some vision exercises that Drew suggested will help him get “everything coordinated back,” Drew must still make further progress before he can play.

“Never knew what a concussion really was. Going through it now, it ain’t no fun. You’re kind of in limbo out there because you can’t really do nothing and try to make it better. It just takes time,” he said. “That slight, you can call it fogginess, the little spin feel going on every now and then, that’s just what I’ve got to work through. It’s come a long way. …

“It’s something, when I started this, I was thinking two or three days, and before too long I was thinking, man, what is going on here? Luckily, like [Dr. Collins] said, it’s a lot better scenario where I’m at than where I could have been. Praise God for that. Now it’s just dealing with this, trying to get the final touches on it. I’ll know when I feel right. I know that’s the biggest key. When I do, then I’ll move forward.”

Drew suggested that the Sox have alternatives at shortstop that will leave them in good shape while Drew works his way back to the field.

“It’s no good for the team or for me to go out there the way I feel now. [Jose Iglesias] has done a good job, [Pedro Ciriaco] has done a good job. They pick up the slack. We’ve got guys that can take care of it while this is going on,” said Drew. “That’s a good thing. Do I want to go through this? No. Was it an unfortunate accident? Yeah. Like I said, you don’t want to play around with it. If I rush back and say I’m good, and a week later I’m starting to feel these symptoms, that wouldn’t be good for nobody.

“Like I said, it’s come along a long way. The more that does that, and the more I start to feel normal and no symptoms, I’ll tell these guys and they’ll know, too. I’m looking forward to getting back, but I can’t give you a timetable. I wish I could give myself a timetable.”

As much as Drew wants to be back as soon as possible, he suggested that he cannot treat a traumatic brain injury as the source of frustration.

“I would like to think it just builds character for me, honestly,” said Drew. “Looking back at life and stuff like that, I’m just glad I get to play this game. Looking forward to getting back out there with the guys. If it’s Opening Day, it’s Opening Day. If it’s not, these guys are professionals. The guys that are going to play in my spot, they’ve been there. That’s a good feeling for me because these guys have already been after it, they know what to do.”

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