Every team has to deal with injuries.
During 2010, no team has had to deal with a greater number of injuries and illnesses than the Boston Red Sox, culminating Wednesday when it was announced that Gold Glove first baseman Kevin Youkilis, arguably the team's most important player, was to have season-ending surgery on his right thumb.
Considering the injuries this season, it is incredible that the Sox have been able to remain in touching distance of the league leading Yankees and Rays.
With several players returning to health recently, Boston fans were hoping that the team would now be able to mount an assault on the AL East and punch their ticket to the playoffs.
Then came the news on Youk. Just in time for a four game series in The Bronx.
If the Red Sox do fail to make the playoffs, they may look at the following 10 injuries as some of the biggest reasons why.
Three time All-Star, 2007 ROTY, 2008 AL MVP, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger winner and so forth.
Since being called up to the bigs, Pedroia has been one of the most valuable players on the Red Sox team in every sense of the word.
When he was ruled out of the team for a projected 6-8 weeks with a broken foot, the Red Sox were left without their number-two hitter and dynamic clubhouse presence.
If Boston has any chance to get back in to the race for the AL East, they will need a productive Pedroia to return without any setbacks during the month of August.
What a mess this has been.
The Red Sox stolen base record holder was shifted from his customary center field to left in the off season and as a result of playing left, collided with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11 injuring his ribs. He was listed as day to day.
It's now August and Ellsbury has just returned to the Sox lineup this week after weeks upon weeks of supposed mis-diagnosis and finger pointing.
All that time without their lead-off hitter has cost the Sox some speed at the top of the line-up. Now it's back, they need to see it. Fast!
Losing the Ace of your pitching staff to the 60 DL is never going to help your team's chances, and judging by Beckett's numbers prior to the DL, he'd been carrying the lower back injury for some time.
A 7.29 ERA before the trip to the DL and a 1.78 ERA in three games since speaks of how important Beckett will be for this club going forward.
When V-Mart joined the Sox a year ago he gave them some much needed pop from the catcher position and became the teams primary three hitter.
The Sox lost him to the DL in June and his loss was amplified by the loss of...
Losing one catcher is unlucky, losing two? In three days of each other?
V-Tek had discovered the pop in his bat this season during his limited playing time and that playing time was due to pick up with the loss of Martinez.
It's been a month so far recovering from the broken foot and it could be several more weeks before we see him back in the line-up.
The Red Sox went into the season with six starting pitchers and everyone was wondering who the odd man out would be.
However, injuries to Beckett and Dice-K saw the Sox a little short in this department.
He might not have pitched up to his potential so far and may be the 5th guy in the rotation as Clay Buchholtz jumped past him, but his ERA has dropped from the fives into the threes since he returned showing a move in the right direction.
Cameron just recently returned to the DL last week with a lower abdominal strain. He also spent some time there in April with another abdominal strain and kidney stones (ouch!)
It was his original trip to the DL which helped contribute to the Sox's merry-go-round of AAA outfielders this season.
Fan favorite Lowell entered the season as a back-up corner infielder after the addition of Adrian Beltre to play third base, and although neither corner infielder were injured at the time Lowell was missing, a right-handed power bat from the bench and his clubhouse presence would have been very welcome.
Now he is back Lowell will no longer be a back up. Youkilis' injury will see Mike become the teams primary first baseman. Assuming that troublesome hip can stay healthy.
It's not often you would discuss a back-up outfielder as someone who will be missed while injured, but given the injuries around him in the outfield he became a starter until he got injured himself.
He bizarrely got injured in the same way as the man he replaced. Like Jacoby Ellsbury before him, he collided with Adrian Beltre down the third base line and fractured his ribs.
This injury coincided with those to Ellsbury and Mike Cameron and together are the reason why the Sox have rotated AAA guys McDonald, Nava, Reddick, Van Every, and Kalish into the big club through most of the season.
Is this the injury that proves to be the final nail in the coffin? Or just another bump in the road for a resilient Red Sox comeback?
There is no disputing Youk's importance to this ball club. His hitting, fielding and off the field intangibles are among the game's elite. Mike Lowell is not a terrible replacement, but it is a significant drop off.
The one saving grace the Red Sox have is a multitude of games against New York and Tampa between now and the end of the season which gives Boston the chance to hold their destiny in their own hands.
Their season is not over. Yet.