The Athletic.com ask Dr. Hay about his opinion on the Padres’ slugger return to play after injury.
It was only last week that X-rays on Machado’s left hand came back negative and Melvin suggested an IL stint was unlikely. Further imaging, however, revealed a hairline fracture of the third metacarpal. Melvin indicated before Thursday’s game that a return for Machado this weekend at Yankee Stadium is a long shot. Machado has begun a hitting progression, but he has not yet taken full batting practice, a key hurdle as he tries to make a swift return from an injury that does not require full healing for clearance.
“The risk of coming back soon would be that you could convert the non-displaced hairline into a displaced fracture that would then need surgery,” Dr. David Hay, an orthopedic hand and wrist surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview last weekend. Dr. Hay, who has not treated Machado, said such surgery could come with a recovery time of three to five weeks.
Dr. Hay estimated that Machado’s current injury would need anywhere between two to six weeks. The quick end of that spectrum would have him back by Tuesday when the Padres open a series against the Marlins.
“As long as he felt good with a really solid grip and could come through it, you can imagine he could get back to play pretty quick,” Dr. Hay said.