Rollins' Injury Is Likely Worse Than We Know

Philly Baseball News asked a noted orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in sports injuries, to analyze the footage of Jimmy Rollins injury. The analysis indicates that there may be a more severe injury than the Phillies are letting on.

We've all seen the video of the play that ultimately sent Jimmy Rollins to the DL. To laymen, it looked like the injury could have been much worse than the sprained ankle that Rollins supposedly suffered on the play, but then again, we're just laymen. With that in mind, Philly Baseball News sat down with a noted orthopedic surgeon, who didn't want to be identified because of his ties to professional sports - we'll call him "Dr. A" - and asked him to give his best estimate on what injury Rollins is likely to have suffered on the play.

It should be pointed out, that there is no definitive way to know just by looking at the play, what type of injury was suffered or the severity of the injury. This is just one specialist's best diagnosis of what may have happened.

Dr. A: In looking at the play, it's most likely that any injury to Rollins would have been to the Deltoid ligament, which is on the medial (inner) part of the ankle. That ligament basically provides all of the stabilization for the foot. The Deltoid is actually a very strong ligament and usually when you strain the Deltoid, there is also some sort of fracture associated with the injury. It is possible to strain the Deltoid without fracturing bone, but it's rare, especially in athletes.

The worst case scenario is that Rollins suffered a strained Deltoid along with a fracture and possibly could also have some damage to the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), but since there are reports of little swelling and the injury appears to be more on the inside of the ankle, that's not likely. The fracture - if there is one - is to the lateral malleolus and what usually happens, is that piece of bone is basically just pulled away.

So, now that we have one experts opinion on what might have happened, how long can we expect Rollins to be out?

Dr. A: Six weeks is a pretty fair guess, but again, it's tough to know because I haven't examined Rollins and am only going on video and what I've heard in news reports about the injury. Provided that he didn't cause any more damage to the ankle since the injury, he should be ready somewhere around the middle of May, depending on how it heals.

Rollins is eligible to come off the DL on May 5, a little under one month from the time that he initially suffered the injury. Philly Baseball News asked Dr. A if there was any concern about Rollins long-term because of the injury.

Dr. A: I would have liked to see him in an Air Cast or at least a walking boot immediately after the injury - and maybe he was, I don't know - because just walking around, you can aggravate this type of injury if it's not protected and stabilized. I'm sure they took some sort of precaution to prevent any further injury, but again, I simply don't know what was done. Provided that the injury isn't too severe - and it doesn't look like it is - there shouldn't be any lingering problems as long as it's taken care of. Only in rare cases is this type of injury something that has to be repaired with surgery and if it was that bad, Rollins would have likely been in more pain than he appeared to be.

With Rollins eligible to come off the DL on May 5, could he return then?

Dr. A: It's possible. That would be a little quick, but it's not unheard of. Again though, if the ankle wasn't stabilized and if he did do any further damage by just walking on the ankle, then he won't be back by then. It will take longer to heal.

The reports from the Phillies were that Rollins didn't have a lot of swelling and the pain wasn't unbearable. Would that be consistent with this sort of injury?

Dr. A: It could be. There's generally less swelling with a Deltoid injury than with an ATFL sprain and the pain isn't always excruciating. Depending on a patient's pain tolerance, it just feels like a basic sprain or sore ankle and sometimes, the average person with a desk job will even go a little while before having the injury checked out. It all depends on the person and the severity of the injury.

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