Schilling Discusses Diagnosis

Curt Schilling broke his silence Monday, when he spoke to six hand-picked reporters about his arm injury, how it developed over the course of the winter and the conflicting treatment plans offered by the Red Sox and by Schilling's surgeon, Dr. Craig Morgan.

"There's a lot going through my mind," Schilling said. "Obviously there have been a lot of discussions over a long period of time. This is where we are. At the end of the day, I signed a contract with this team, so I have to abide by the rule of the CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement], and one of the rules is, from a medical standpoint, they're allowed to dictate how and when things are supposed to happen."

Morgan, who operated on Schilling's shoulder in 1995 and 1999, has prescribed biceps surgery for Schilling and told the hurler he could be back around the All-Star Break if he had the procedure. The Sox and their team doctor, Thomas Gill, have suggested rest and rehabilitation. Per the CBA, the Sox and Schilling sought a third opinion, and Mets team doctor David Altchek agreed with the Sox' diagnosis.

Theo Epstein told reporters last week Schilling will continue his rest and rehab program for at least six to eight weeks. The Boston Globe reported Feb. 7 that even if the Sox' program works as the club expects, Schilling will not pitch until after the All-Star Break.

While Schilling hopes to beat that timetable, he didn't sound thrilled to be following the Sox' program, especially since he plans to retire at the end of the season. "If their course of action doesn't work, I don't pitch this year, and I may never pitch again," Schilling said. "I don't have a choice. I have to mentally get behind it and do everything I can do to make it work. It certainly isn't the best spot to be in, when you hear five and 10 percent and never pitch again and those things. I'm disappointed that after 21 years my career might end like this.

"But it is what it is."

Schilling, who missed nearly two months last summer due to what the Sox called right shoulder tendonitis, said he felt shoulder discomfort most of the season and that he had two cortisone shots down the stretch—one after he went 7 2/3 innings, his longest post-DL performance, against the Yankees Sept. 16 and one sometime in the playoffs.

He began his winter throwing program later than usual because he was so tired at the end of the season. He said he never felt good during his workouts but that he attributed the sluggishness to age and the mileage on his shoulder. However, the pain and discomfort increased throughout December and peaked in early January, when he could no longer even play catch.

"There was an intense amount of pain in just everyday living that was [not] present in any point last season," Schilling said. "There was discomfort and fatigue, but I was never to the point that it was now."

Schilling said he would never undergo the surgery recommended by Morgan without the Sox' consent, but that he hoped earlier in the winter the Sox would agree the surgery was necessary. "He's been cutting edge forever," Schilling said. "He's always been well ahead of the bell curve. He's an orthopedic surgeon—I guess that's like saying he's a major league pitcher. He's the [Jonathan] Papelbon, he's a specialist. The shoulder is what he does. So I've always trusted him and his work. They disagreed."

Schilling also lashed out at the idea that he knew he was hurt when he signed his one-year, $8 million deal with the Sox in November. "Let's be clear: If some people want to believe this was me taking advantage of the situation financially, I wouldn't have done it here," Schilling said. "I would have done it in at least two other places for $14 million if I was going to sit on my ass on the DL and collect a paycheck. I know that for a fact. People are going to believe what they believe.

"I was healthy at the time. I didn't feel great, but I felt like I was 40 or 41. I went through the physical. I had an MRI at the time as well. I did everything they asked, passed every test they asked me to take and I felt fine."

Schilling spoke to a group that included Rob Bradford and Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, Jeff Goldberg of The Hartford Courant, Sean McAdam of The Providence Journal, Don Orsillo of NESN and Dan Roche of CBS-4. The Boston Globe reported Monday he told each reporter to meet him in the parking lot outside the Sox' complex in Ft. Myers.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752. To subscribe to Diehard or diehardmagazine.com, please CLICK HERE.

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