Ellsbury On DL: Should Red Sox Players Trust the Team Physician?

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Ellsbury On DL: Should Red Sox Players Trust the Team Physician?
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Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is back on the disabled list due to the rib cage injury suffered in Kansas City during the first week of the season.

He missed the next five weeks and returned to the lineup just last Saturday, but during the week, he suffered a relapse of the symptoms that took him out of action after colliding with 3B Adrian Beltre.

After being put back on the disabled list earlier today, Ellsbury implied that the Red Sox medical staff gave him bad information last week when they told him playing would not aggravate his condition.

He saw a thoracic specialist earlier today, who confirmed his fractured ribs appear to be healing "faster than normal," but he was also informed that playing had worsened his condition.

Ellsbury said, "(He) basically advised me that I need to be at a further state of healing before I resume play. To this point, right now I really don't have a timeline for when I'm coming back."

"Just talking with the medical staff, I'm going to do everything I can to get back on the field as soon as possible."

He played three games after being activated, going 1-for-14 and making a diving catch in the outfield. Then, after a hitting session with coach Dave Magadan on Tuesday afternoon, he complained of pain.

He said he has experienced many of the same symptoms that occurred in the immediate aftermath of his collision, including pain when he tries to take a deep breath, "Basically, I tried playing with a level of discomfort, knowing that I was not 100 percent, and doing so worsened my condition."

The media asked Ellsbury if he had been told PRIOR TO coming off the DL that playing might worsen his condition. He replied, "When I came back (I was) pretty much of the understanding if I came back...it wouldn't regress...Unfortunately, that was the case this time."

He said he'll proceed more cautiously before he returns again, "When I talked to the specialist, he said you need to be at a further state of healing (before trying to play). When I come back (next time), I'll definitely be farther along in the process."

Earlier in the week, Ellsbury asserted that his original injury was misdiagnosed. After the game in which he was hurt, he underwent X-rays while still in Kansas City, which came back negative, and the injury was diagnosed as bruised ribs.

It's not unusual for rib fractures to go undetected initially. Often, it isn't until a second round of tests shows the inflammation indicating fractures.

He said, "I think (the team) downplay(ed) it because they misdiagnosed (my injury). They said you treat (a bruise and a fracture) the same way... How do you treat a bruise the same as a break?"

Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill maintained at the time that the team follows the same protocol for treating bruised ribs as they do for fractures until the club can make a fuller determination.

But he is the same guy who told Ellsbury that he would not aggravate his condition by playing. So the question begs whether the players now have pause to question the advice being provided by the club's medical staff.

Remember, this isn't the first time that the advice of the medical staff has been called into question by a player or an agent.

Are the diagnoses and treatment plans being provided by the medical staff predicated on what the front office is looking for?

Does the front office want Ellsbury back in the lineup? He's good to go!

Does the front office want a graceful exit from re-signing Jason Bay? There are problems with his knee.

Does the front office want Curt Schilling in the rotation? Forget surgery, give him a cortisone shot!

With the club's track record over the last two years (a period that precisely coincides with the team replacing former team physician Dr. Bill Morgan with current team physician Dr. Thomas Gill) I wonder:

IF YOU WERE ONE OF THE PLAYERS ON THE RED SOX'S 25-MAN ROSTER AND YOU SUFFERED AN INJURY, WOULD YOU ACCEPT THE DIAGNOSIS OF DR. GILL AT FACE VALUE, OR WOULD YOU WANT A SECOND OPINION?

Remember, the club was cryptic as to the reason(s) they replaced Morgan after the 2004 season, only weeks after he ingeniously sutured the sheath Curt Schilling's ankle tendon: A procedure that allowed the big right-hander to pitch effectively during the team's championship run.

What were the reasons?

Did Morgan refuse to go along with certain requests from the front office pertaining to his diagnosis of player injuries?

Just askin'...

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