Dr. Hay weighs in on bone bruise injuries and the impact of the Mets slugger’s return to play.
Instead of lining up against the crosstown rivals, Alonso was out on the field in Queens early on Tuesday, taking groundballs at first base. He’s on the injured list for just the second time in his career with a bone bruise and sprain of his left wrist. While Alonso declined comment on his work, manager Buck Showalter said the first baseman is “progressing well.”
“Let’s get through this week and see where he is,” Showalter said before the game. “We’re happy with how it’s progressing compared to how it could be progressing.”
Alonso is eligible to return from the injured list as soon as Sunday. The Mets pegged his initial timeline at three to four weeks, which would mean around the end of the month or the west-coast trip in early July.
According to Dr. David Hay, an orthopedic hand and wrist surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, Alonso’s return will depend on how he manages the pain in his wrist.
A bone bruise occurs when the internal honeycomb-like structure of a bone — technically, the cancellous bone — is damaged. Hay, who has not treated or evaluated Alonso, described it like Styrofoam inside a PVC pipe or soda bottle: The initial traumatic impact — in this case, a baseball thrown at high velocity — can injure the internal structure while the harder, exterior portion of the bone temporarily deforms without breaking.
“It is loaded up to, but just short of, the breaking point but doesn’t break,” Hay said. “The external bone hasn’t cracked; it’s essentially stable and structurally sound. You have the pain of that internal injury, so it’s just waiting for that pain to go away.”
So in Alonso’s case, his return should largely be a pain-management issue. The Mets’ initial timetable on Alonso of three to four weeks suggests a milder bone bruise, Hay said. More severe bone bruises can take more than two months to heal.