Nationals Baseball: Rendon Update

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rendon Update

Anthony Rendon still can't play. He can move his knee from front to back (good!) but still feels problems moving side to side (bad!). The pain isn't subsiding so they are going to another couple doctors to get the best possible diagnosis.  Doctor #1, James Andrews said, yep no tear. I'd bet doctor #2 says the same thing. So what's the problem?

Well, the short of it is that injuries heal at different rates for different people. That's just the way it goes. When an injury happens, we are given the average time injuries take to heal, but that's just an average. If it takes on average 4 weeks to heal from an injury some people may heal in a couple weeks and other may take a month and a half.  There may even be some crazy examples where someone feels better in just a couple days and other people take months to get right. We generally expect athletes to heal on the fast end due to their physical condition and the resources they have at hand. However, the most important thing is the healing ability of the body, something we can't really know.

Can we do any better knowing it's an MCL sprain? Well we can get a more specific average! Let's use this page as an example.
In the case of a first degree sprain, sporting activities should not be undertaken for about 3 weeks. For second degree sprains, the rehabilitation period will be between 6 and 8 weeks.
Very binary isn't it? The injury recovery times don't even overlap. Either you are ready in 3 weeks or you are ready in 6-8 weeks. (We're ignoring the 3rd option because it involves a tear)  What about week 4 or 5? Clearly some people heal during that period, right?

We know it's already been three weeks, but that doesn't automatically mean it's a 2nd degree sprain. It could just mean he's slow to heal from a 1st degree sprain. The Nats called it a mild sprain, which would seem to indicate the lesser degree (though I haven't heard what the doctors think. They just agreed it was a sprain) So that's probably it.  Hopefully someone will get info on the severity of the sprain to confirm this.

This is all well and good but how long then will it take Rendon to heal? What's like the upper limit? Well, diving around into the internet and message boards and comments and the like... let's see... he'll definitely be ready to go within a year or so.

That too broad? Another week or another 48? Well this goes back to knowing the average time it takes to heal. That's a helpful number. But as a statistician I can tell you that for most basic statistical analyses you need two values, the average and the variance. The average tells you the middle point, the variance tells you the spread.  Here are two examples of weeks of injury healing time.

Example 1 :  1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5
Example 2 : 0.5, 0.5, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 13

Both of those give you an average healing time of 3 weeks. In Example 1 though you are pretty well centered around the 3 week period (your variance is low). In Example 2 there is a decent chance you heal in a few days and a not crazy chance it takes you months to heal (the variance is high). I can't be sure because I lack data but anecdotally, knee injuries seem to resemble the latter example more than the former. A lot of people heal up as expected but a handful can take forever.

The more worrisome part than Nats fans beyond the "I don't know" aspect is the fact that I think being a professional athlete actually lengthens the time out here. You really want to make sure it is healed before you start doing athletic activities. For you or me that means light jogging. For Rendon, as far as we are concerned, this means going at close to 100% against other professional athletes. They won't be allowed to slowly get back into things, or at least we won't consider that time "being back".  So Rendon and Joe Q Public could feel the same after week 6 but while Joe Q Public might say he's ready because he can start doing some stationary bike exercise again, Rendon can't say it because he won't be major league ready.

But cautious is good here. A reinjury would mean certainly more time off than the first time (that obviously wasn't enough) or worse, a more serious injury. Given Rendon has missed 3 weeks already, let's say he comes back in two more, then goes down quickly. You'd be talking mid-June, All-Star break for a return? The Nats have to be very cautious here.

I'm not a doctor. I haven't seen Rendon's workouts. We can only go on what we hear. But what I'm hearing is a guy that should take at least a couple more weeks off.  Forget Opening Day, let's hope for April.


Wally said...

And it isn't just 'wait the right amount of time, and then plug him in for the remaining games', because the chance of a reinjury, or related injury, has to be somewhere in the calculus. Not 100% certainly, or even a high chance, but somewhere in there.

So doesn't it beg the roster question of a better fallback plan for the corner IF spots than Frandsen? If Uggla could play 3rd, maybe that could be ok. but apparently he can't even play 3rd as badly as he pays 2b, since they are trying Escobar there before him.

So I think it is time to go find a Valbuena/Brock Holt type. Why should the Nats reasonably expect full seasons from Zim and Rendon, and Espy's glove is a nice add, but they need some hitting too.

Carl said...

These lingering injuries are starting to worry me a bit. A big problem with the 2013 team was the offense, mostly related to injuries and the drop-off to the replacements. At the end of that year I totaled up how many games the Nats gave up 3 or fewer runs and still lost. Can't find the number now, but it was a lot (and in particular there were quite a few vs. the Braves). If they had won half those games they'd have taken a wild card and just been a couple games behind Atlanta. Really, really don't want a repeat of that this year. I also don't want to have to cheer for Dan Uggla.

Harper said...

I think they are starting to play around with this idea. Blevins trade seemed like a money free-up to some degree.

Anthony Rendon said...

Here is an example of healing at different rates. I had surgery a few months ago and was playing with my basketball team in a week. a guy I know had the same exact surgery, a few years ago, and needed over a month to start running again.

Rendon needs to be healthy for the second half as we are not winning it all without him.

As a replacement either get Beltre or don't get anyone.

Bote Man said...

Rendon is now going to Vail, Colorado to seek a FOURTH opinion. Is he shopping for a doctor who WANTS to cut up his knee??

Also, Spring skiing is going to be murder on that knee. I predict disaster.

John C. said...

I didn't read the Blevins trade as a money dump - the money amount is too small (in MLB terms). I read that as a chance to leverage a guy who had pitched his way out of their plans into a guy who can play a suddenly short position, has a good (not great, but solid) glove and swings a LH bat (not well, and certainly not with power, but MdD has shown a knack for getting on base). Oh, and has two minor league options remaining and is under team control for another several seasons.

To the extent it's a money dump, it's a future money dump because Blevins is already on the arbitration ladder and MdD is still pre-arbitration.

John C. said...

And before we start jumping on the "OMG it's 2013 again!!" bandwagon, I'll point out that the Nationals also had serious position player injuries in 2012 and 2014.

Really, the Nationals have been very unlucky with injuries to position players while lucky in [other injury areas - shhhhh].

Kenny B. said...

I think we'll se an intermediate move of some kind to fill the hole. If we all remember 2013, so does the organization. I don't think they really buy all that "not ready to win" and "locker room culture" nonsense.

The move to get Asdrubal Cabrera last year suggests to me that the organization is willing to make intermediate moves to fill in injury gaps. They don't want to do that, but I think that's why they're trying so hard to figure out how long it will be: to gauge how much they should put into a prospective replacement. Don't look for anything big, but I think we'll get something.

And remember, the division is still remarkably weak. It's not time to despair yet.

Zimmerman11 said...

So Harper, should we be rooting for Uggla to start the season at second? With Danny the supersub off the bench? What about Ian Stewart, what about Ryan Zimmerman (putting TyMo at first)?

What Would Harper Do?

Other option? Trade Giolito for Beltre?

Bjd1207 said...

Do not trade Giolito for Beltre. I'd give up Cole in a 1-for-1 but that's as high as I'd go.

Similarly I don't think Zimm would fair to well just to get T-Mo's bat in the order. I think I'd rather roll the dice on Espi's bat and keep the defense solid.

Harper said...

Carl - 28 games. Here was my take on it from the end of July (after that the O picked up_

Rendon - stop playing off-season basketball! And why didn't we hear about this injury?!?

(I agree - difference making player or no player (could be 2B with Escobar playing 3B). No point going from say Espy to say Mike Olt.

Olo - I think it's this :
1st : Nats doc
2nd : Nats doc looking again
3rd: James Andrews (Nats 2nd opinion)
4th : Vail CO guy (Boras 2nd opinion)

so no surgery searching I don't think.

John - eh every million helps when you might need another player. But it could have been what you are saying I just think Blevins had use.

As for the position injuries - True! Jesus what is up with this team?

KB - Based on past I think we'll get a wait and see - maybe a fill-in but June at best. Rizzo doesn't do fill-in often. Drubal right now is an outlier. (though I guess if they do it again it's a trend)

Z11 - I think you should be rooting for Rendon to be healthy. What I would do is nothing. Not until we know Rendon isn't ready by mid-April. You can cover a couple weeks but you don't want to wait out injuries and find a month gone (see Bryce 2013)

BJD / Z11 - No Giolito for Beltre. Now Giolito for Carlos Gomez I love but that was before now.

Anthony Rendon said...

But Harper I like playing offseason basketball.

I want to see the season start off with espy in the lineup and when he proves he can or can't hit make some moves from there.

Kenny B. said...

Frandsen has been released. Does this mean anything in the chess match with Anthony Rendon's knee? Anyone have thoughts?

Bjd1207 said...

@KennyB - I don't think it speaks one way or the other to Rendon's status. We're just as much in the dark as we ever were.

I think it speaks more to how the organization feels about Uggla/Escobar. It seems like our infielders will be:


So some combination of Escobar/Espi/Uggla will man 2B/3B to open the season. Since Uggla can't play a lick of 3rd, I'm betting it's Uggla 2B, Escobar 3B, and Espi defensive replacement

Anonymous said...

Should have went after Josh Donaldson. I was kind of neutral as a Frandsen fan but he did have a great attitude and willingness to play anywhere. Speaks to his overall ball player athleticism. Now if we could just get rid of T Moore...

Froggy said...

Damn did Morse and Stanton crush those balls off ZNN or what! I fear this whole contract thing will negatively effect my boy this season.

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