Gerrit Cole on track for May? Doctor says recovery possible in 2-7 weeks

gerrit cole, new work yankees' player

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Despite the recent setback, the New York Yankees and Gerrit Cole himself are exuding confidence about his return to the mound this season. Cole downplayed the injury, calling it “nothing scary”, and general manager Brian Cashman echoed that sentiment, expressing his confidence in the ace’s recovery.

The Yankees may have some good news on the horizon, as Dr. Eric Bowman, an orthopedic surgeon and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, stated to the press that Gerrit Cole’s recovery could keep him out of the Yankees’ plans for at least seven weeks, although the scenario is not as pessimistic as it may seem.

Doctors say that surgery may not be necessary for Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole, player of the new york yankees

Diagnosed with nerve inflammation and edema in his right elbow, Gerrit Cole has been advised by orthopedic experts, including renowned surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, that surgery may not be necessary to address the issue. Dr. Eric Bowman, an orthopedic surgeon and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, echoed this sentiment, highlighting that such conditions often resolve themselves without surgical intervention.

Identifying the ulnar nerve as the likely source of Gerrit Cole’s discomfort, Dr. Bowman explained to the NY POST that such nerve issues are commonplace among pitchers due to the repetitive stress placed on their elbows during throwing motions. Additionally, he noted that edema, or swelling, is common in pitchers, often indicative of stress on the bone, particularly during periods of increased activity such as the start of a season.

“Typically it gets better on its own. I’d say 90 percent of the ones I see typically get better. It’s rare that it would move on to needing to be addressed surgically.” said Dr. Eric Bowman, who is also an assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the head team physician for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds and Vanderbilt.

Gerrit Cole attributed his injury to a rapid increase in spring training activity, a sentiment resonating with medical experts. 

Gerrit Cole

Despite the discomfort caused by nerve inflammation and edema, no structural damage to Gerrit Cole’s ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) has been detected, which would typically necessitate surgical intervention. While there are rare cases where nerve inflammation and edema lead to surgery, the prevailing expectation is that Cole’s condition will improve with rest and rehabilitation.

Gerrit Cole expected to be back in 2-7 weeks

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole should be able to pitch in 2024 without needing surgery after suffering an elbow injury.

Dr. Bowman outlined a recovery timeline, suggesting that Gerrit Cole will likely require two to seven weeks of rest before resuming throwing activities, with the Yankees aiming for a three to four-week period of inactivity. 

Following this period, Gerrit Cole will need approximately six weeks to rebuild arm strength and conditioning, akin to a full spring training regimen. Consequently, if Cole resumes throwing in early April, his potential return to competitive play could occur towards the end of May.

Despite the setback, the prospect of only two missed months from their star pitcher is viewed favorably by the Yankees. Dr. Bowman emphasized that with proper rest and rehabilitation, most such injuries resolve without further complications, reassuring Gerrit Cole and the team regarding his eventual return to the pitching rotation.

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