Bigbie Stress Fracture Analyzed

Rule of thumb analysis of Cardinals outfielder Larry Bigbie's stress fracture in his left foot from injury expert Rick Wilton.

Cardinals outfielder Larry Bigbie, who came into camp as the expected starter in left field for the St. Louis Cardinals, disclosed Friday that he has a stress fracture in his left foot, near his heel. Bigbie said he was told that he will be out two to three weeks.

However, considering teams' often overly optimistic estimate of any player's time out, my gut said to double it. To get a more scientific answer, I consulted Rick Wilton, the internet's first baseball injury analyst and the only one with medical training.

In all fairness to Wilton, I only had Bigbie's sketchy explanation of the injury to share with him. Still, Wilton provided his diagnosis.

"It's not a common injury. I couldn't find a baseball player with one the past three years, though it was just a quick check.

"It depends on what bone is fractured. Typically it is six to eight weeks, but MLB players get better treatment so you can cut two weeks off that.

"However, if it is the talus bone (the big bone near the back of the foot), it could be up to eight weeks. It will take a longer time to heal because the talus absorbs so much of the body's weight.

"The estimate of two to three weeks is strange. Only if is a very minor fracture that won't require a boot, would three weeks be likely. Since the injury is closer to the back of the foot than the front, it will be four weeks minimum.

"I'm going to go with four to six weeks. In other words, Bigbie is unlikely to return before the last week of April," Wilton concluded.

Update: An AP report says that an immobilization boot will not be required. Considering Bigbie has had only 26 spring at-bats, hitting just .231, he will likely need time to get playing-ready.

Make sure you check out Rick Wilton's Baseball Injury Report, fantasy baseball's injury authority at Baseball-Injury-Report.com.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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