Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout insisted his back injury is not as serious as some may fear.
Angels head athletic trainer Mike Frostad called it "a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back" and said he hoped it wouldn't hold the future Hall of Famer out for the rest of the season, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Most notably, Frostad said, "long-term, we do have to look at this as something that he has to manage not just through the rest of this season, but also through the rest of his career, probably."
Yet Trout told Fletcher that was an "exaggeration" and that he will be back in the Angels' lineup again at some point this season and is not concerned with any long-term risks to his career.
"I got to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to prevent it from coming back," Trout said. "I feel good where it's at right now. Every day it's improving. I felt really good today."
He has not played since a July 12 loss to the Houston Astros and missed the All-Star Game because of his back. There is also no reason for Los Angeles to rush him back this year considering it is well out of contention at 42-56 and in fourth place in the American League West.
Unfortunately for Trout, injuries have been something of a theme.
The last time he played more than 140 games was the 2016 season, and he appeared in just 36 games last year because of a calf injury. The idea of back concerns lingering for the rest of his career is notable, especially since he turns 31 years old next month.
When healthy, he is a generational talent. He has three American League MVPs, 10 All-Star selections and eight Silver Slugger awards on his resume.
Trout is slashing .270/.368/.599 with 24 home runs and 51 RBI this season.
At this point, having him available at the start of the 2023 campaign and beyond is far more important for the Angels than whether he can return as the team plays out the string. While he said his goal is to be back at some point this year, just the fact he called career-long concerns an exaggeration is probably a welcome sign for the team and its fans.