Pittsburgh Pirates News: A.J. Burnett Breaks Orbital Bone, Requires Surgery

Louie Babcock@Medic_LouieContributor IIIMarch 1, 2012

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 26, 2012 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

The Associated Press (h/t SI.com) is reporting that starting pitcher A.J. Burnett broke his right orbital bone Wednesday.

A.J. was practicing bunting, and the ball ricocheted into his face. Burnett will have surgery to repair the bone on Friday. Pittsburgh has not released any timetable for his return.

Anytime there is an injury to the eye or the bone surrounding it, there is always a chance of some type of vision impairment for the rest of the person's life.

After orbital bone surgery, loss of vision has been reported in 1 out of 500 cases. Furthermore, 5-30% of patients experience double vision following this procedure.

Besides the arm of a pitcher, the eyes are the next important thing. If a pitcher cannot clearly see the target from his catcher, then the pitcher will not be able to hit that spot.

This trade to Pittsburgh was supposed to be a fresh start for A.J. He is finally out of the bright spot-light that Yankee baseball brings with it.

There is a chance that A.J. will make a complete recovery—however, when dealing with the eyes all we can do is wait and see.

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Update: Courtesy of The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com)

A.J. Burnett will miss between two to three months. Surgery was successful, and the Pirates are saying that his vision will not be altered.

Louie Babcock has over 5 years experience in emergency medicine, and is studying medicine at the University of Minnesota.

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