Does Hoover Need Back Surgery?

Out since the end of Spring Training with an ailing back, RHP Jesse Hoover visited a Los Angeles doctor on Monday to find out if he needed back surgery or not. has got the latest scoop on Hoover's back injury and the verdict is...

"Dr. Watkins said that I wouldn't need surgery", Jesse Hoover told us. Sighs of relief could be felt from Indiana to Tampa all the way to New York as the young flamethrower did not need to undergo season-ending back surgery. That was the good news.

The bad news is, instead, Hoover is going to need 2-3 months of rest and recuperation before he can even begin throwing. "It will be 2 to 3 months of low back stabilization before I start pitching again," said Hoover. "I just need to really strengthen the muscles in that area before I test it out on the mound."

The assumption is Hoover will continue the program of wearing the back brace 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future in an effort to keep the back not only straight, but immobilized to help heal the fracture of his L4 vertebrate.

Jesse actually began his rehab program on Wednesday as he starts on the long road back to pitching in live games. It is not out of the question that he'll pitch again in the 2005 season, however, that remains highly unlikely. Either way, many people are happy to hear that Jesse won't go under the knife.

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