The news finally came in between the sixth and seventh innings of tonight's ballgame: Jonathan Papelbon has been diagnosed with a transient subluxation of the shoulder.
According to a page I found after some thorough Googling (it was pretty hard to find one written in language I didn't need to sound out like a Hooked on Phonics kid), this is what that means:
A shoulder subluxation is a temporary, partial dislocation of the shoulder joint...The most important treatment for the looseness in the shoulder that causes a subluxation is shoulder strengthening exercises. Shoulders that continue to sublux and cause painful symptoms may require surgery to correct the joint looseness.
So, essentially, a subluxation could be described as a mild dislocation. It's not nothing, of course--otherwise Jonathan wouldn't have traumatized us all coming out of the game. And the prospect of anything with a blade on it coming near that right arm for any reason is enough to make me reach for the paper bag.
But the first good news about this is what it is not: a tear, to anything, either rotator cuff, or worse, labrum. This is not an injury that, at this point, requires surgery, according to NESN's report on the MRI.
The second good news about this may actually be its timing. Remy and Orsillo were just on air saying that they don't think we'll see Papelbon again this year. If that's what it takes, so be it. Clearly something needs to be done to help his shoulder--either a new strength and conditioning routine or an alteration to his mechanics or both, and personally I think they should take their time. It may turn out this chance to correct something in Papelbon is a blessing in injury's clothing.