Dopirak Opts for Second Surgery

Cubs first base prospect Brian Dopirak wasn't overly pleased with the ailing status of his injured left foot, so he decided to undergo a second surgery at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., last week.

Dopirak broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot during his season opener for Double-A West Tennessee on April 6 in Birmingham, Ala.

After first undergoing surgery in the days following the injury, Dopirak returned to the lineup on June 2 and went on to play in 52 games for the Diamond Jaxx, batting .257 overall with one home run and 23 RBIs.

Not long after his return, though, he began to suspect something was amiss. Dopirak felt discomfort in the area and eventually went to Chicago for a follow-up X-ray, and to re-visit with Dr. Stephen Gryzlo (team orthopedist).

When X-ray results revealed the bone had not healed entirely, he decided to visit a foot specialist at Duke to help determine the next course of action.

The visit and subsequent course of action took place last week when the 22-year-old Dopirak decided to undergo a second operation on the bone. The fifth metatarsal is more commonly known as the pinky toe.

"The operation took about two hours," Dopirak said Wednesday. "It was an outpatient surgery. I have a friend with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Atlanta Braves' organization that I was best friends with in high school. He drove over to be with me. I needed someone to stay with me and he was already out for the year, so we were sort of taking care of one another."

Dopirak was referring to OF Steve Doetsch, who graduated Dunedin (Fla.) High School alongside the Cubs' prospect in 2002 and, like Dopirak, was selected in the first 10 rounds of that year's draft.

Dopirak should get some idea of when he can begin to test the foot after a follow-up visit with his surgeon.

"I have to go back to see the doctor in a week in a half or so, and get my stitches out. I'll go by what he has to say," he said.

Dopirak's decrease in power this season could almost assuredly be attributed to the foot injury. Two years ago, he smashed 39 home runs en route to being named the Class A Midwest League MVP at Lansing, and the Cubs' top prospect by Baseball America. He also won the Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year Award in an on-field ceremony at Wrigley Field.

A season ago at Daytona, he clubbed 16 home runs and drove in 76 runs.

The decision to have the surgery was left strictly up to Dopirak. It was either surgery, or let the bone rest in hopes that it would heal on its own.

In the end, Dopirak erred on the side of caution.

"I'll be ready to go next year. I won't have to worry about it, or take the risk of it not healing," he said.


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