The Dodgers Must Avoid Rushing Kershaw Back It is Worth the Wait
By Jacob Rudner
Clayton Kershaw appeared fine. He joined his team in Mexico, participated and spoke in every media scrum there was, and seemed to be his normal self. But, in a season where nothing has gone as expected for the Dodgers, the unexpected struck yet again when news broke that Kershaw would fly home, alone from Mexico, to be examined by a leading surgeon in baseball’s most serious injuries.
The original report stated the issue was nothing more than left bicep tendonitis. Tendonitis by definition is inflammation of a tendon, most commonly from overuse but also from infection. A report that, to the naked eye, seemed like a blessing. Tendonitis would hold the 30-year old ace out of the game for a few weeks. It meant no surgery. All of which was music to the ears of the faithful in a time that felt so utterly bleak.
But, in the eyes of the skeptic, tendonitis felt like a front, damage control.
The team was flying home just a few hours after the news broke of Kershaw’s ailment. If the injury was minor he needed not leave in what appeared to be an urgent flight home if the malady was no more than minor. But he was leaving on a flight home with nobody more than his own thoughts.
The second red flag was the way the news broke; it felt like an attempt at disaster prevention. The team was trying to control a PR nightmare in which things, already bad, would get so much worse.
But, in the end, even after Kershaw was sent to the same doctor who performed Seager’s Tommy John operation, it really was tendonitis.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: what a build up to confirm what we already knew. Allow me to explain.
Kershaw being able to avoid surgery is great. It keeps him on the shelf for a shorter period of time than would any sort of operation. But the point of this article is not to be optimistic because he will be back soon, it is to hope that the team really takes its time with a player who many would argue is the key to success.
Tendonitis, as stated earlier, is essentially the result of overdoing it. In other words, Kershaw pushed the envelope too far, his arm had enough, and that left us here. So, with an injury, that is the result of overuse the cure is the opposite: nothing. He must be forced to do nothing and for a long time.
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And that is where the difficulty lies. The team must stop a player whose instinct is to go. When his dreams crumbled last November he packed up his home in Los Angeles, moved himself and his family back home to Dallas and spent no time at all basking in his woes of defeat.
That is not Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw, in his ten-year career, knows nothing more than hitting the ground and running at full speed. He has done it since day one.
In the past few seasons the game has thrown obstacles his way- two serious back injuries, the departure of his teammate Zack Greinke, and now an arm injury that tends to serve as the precursor or warning sign for a more serious injury.
That is why the team must put up the stop sign, pump the breaks if you will for the car that is Kershaw. A car that will drive, and drive quickly, to get back on the road.
Why? Why press pause when you can press play and get back to the field sooner? The answer is simple, the team needs him now and will need him in the future. The Dodgers depend on Kershaw every fifth day.
Even in a bad start his name and presence alone are motivation to win. Everyone wants to play behind one of the greatest to ever play the game and if he is hurt they can not do that.
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So, the moral of the story is be patient. Wanting Kershaw back, wanting the whole team back, is normal. But, at what cost should the team get Clayton back on the field? Whether it takes: two weeks, a month, or two months it is worth it as sometimes, the reward is well worth the wait.