The Red Sox now know why Jacoby Ellsbury had recurring pain during his brief stint back from the disabled list. The center fielder, who flew to Southern California and was examined by the renowned Dr. Lewis Yocum on Wednesday, has a different fracture in his left ribs than the one that initially put him out of commission on April 11.
The second injury was likely sustained on May 23, just Ellsbury's second game back from the disabled list, when he made a diving catch in the bottom of the seventh inning in Philadelphia against Raul Ibanez. Ellsbury played one more game after that diving stop before he had to shut it down again.
I'd like to dispense with any "Ellsbury is soft" nonsense immediately, please.
NFL players, who have been known to play with broken fingers, separated shoulders, and concussions, are sometimes sidelined for substantial chunks of a season with rib fractures,
because the pain and risk of re-injury are so great, and because there is
no treatment like a cast, splint or surgery that
can move healing along faster.
Here's another example. From 2001-08, Tom Brady started 128 consecutive regular season and playoff games for the Patriots, the third longest all-time streak for an NFL quarterback. He's won Super Bowls with a separated shoulder and a screwed-up knee. He played through half a season and two postseason games with a mofo sports hernia* (*Warning: guys may experience sympathy pains) in 2005 -- the same injury that put another NFL QB, Donovan McNabb, out of commission and on the operating table before the regular season was over that same year.
He may have a pretty-boy image (admittedly at least partially of his own creation, due to some very ill-advised pictures with goats), but he's actually one of the toughest quarterbacks ever to play the game.
And last year Brady still raised eyebrows when it was revealed he was playing through broken ribs -- "What's a bit terrifying for the Patriots is that the ribs have been broken all season long; it helps explains why he's been unable to hit his full stride much of the season," quoth the article I just linked.
Even for one of the toughest NFL quarterbacks ever, broken ribs are a "terrifying" injury to have, and it hampered him significantly. As an NFL fan, hearing of these discussions about Jacoby just make me shake my head -- I can't believe that given a sport where players go on the 15-day DL with blisters and sit out games or series with muscle strains or pulls, people would suggest a player is 'soft' when he has multiple freakin' bone fractures in his rib cage.