Adam Wainwright Injured: Will the St. Louis Cardinals Ace Ever Be the Same?

Colin KirschnerContributor IIFebruary 24, 2011

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 24: Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright #50 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches his way to his 20th win of the season against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 7-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Adam Wainwright got a surprise this week.  It has been determined that he will have to endure every pitcher's worst nightmare—Tommy John surgery—and will miss the 2011 season.

Will he ever be the same?

That is the big question not only Wainwright is probably asking, but every baseball fan in St. Louis, as well.

With the recent explosion in the field of sports medicine, all signs point to a successful recovery for Wainwright.

The fact that his own teammate, Chris Carpenter, went under the knife in 2007, could be an optimism booster for Wainwright. I say this because the former ace battled through the injury and has re-emerged as one of the MLB's top pitchers.

In 2009, Carpenter finished second in the NL Cy Young voting.  The following season he was voted to his third All-Star game.  Since the surgery, his record has been 33-15 with 323 strikeouts.

In order for Wainwright to make a successful comeback there will be two major factors:

  1. He will have to be patient and understanding.  It takes time for the replaced ligament to gain enough strength in order to throw the pearl.
  2. When beginning rehab, it is vital that he not only stretches his arm, but also his shoulder.  

If he fails to do so, he will be adding even more stress not only to his elbow, but his shoulder and rotator cuff as well.

The St. Louis Cardinals will almost certainly make sure their new found ace gets the best possible treatment.

As long as the hurler takes his time and works hard, we could see a revamped All-Star selection in 2012.