Matt Harvey chooses rehab over surgery

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has decided that he’ll use rest and rehabilitation to heal his partially torn UCL in an attempt to avoid Tommy John surgery. The pitcher went for a second opinion yesterday with Dr. James Andrews and apparently it went well enough to wear Harvey chose rehab. He’ll rest for one to two months and then begin a throwing program. If that goes well he’ll avoid surgery, if not he’ll need undergo the knife.

Mets star right-hander Matt Harvey is expected to try to avoid Tommy John elbow surgery after seeing noted sports doctor James Andrews on Monday.

The diagnosis apparently was positive enough that Harvey is expected to try rehab for now, then begin a throwing program in 1-2 months. Surgery remains a possibility, depending on how the rehab and throwing go. (CBS Sports)

Personally, I think Harvey will need to have surgery but it really doesn’t hurt him to try the rehab option first, it’s the perfect time of year. No matter when Harvey has his surgery, now or three months from now, he’ll miss the entire 2014 season. That means there’s no rush to make a decision.

If rest and rehab works he’ll be on the mound opening day for the Mets. If not he’ll have surgery and he’ll be ready for the start of the 2015 surgery, just like if he went with surgery from the start.

Now why do I think he’ll need surgery? It’s very rare for a pitcher to have this injury and go on with a long, successful career without the surgery. Harvey has been using Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay as proof that you can go on without it. There’s two problems with that.

Doc is a workaholic and spends a lot of time in the gym, he’s built up other parts of his body to help with the strain. Who knows not having the surgery could have led to his shoulder issues over the past couple years, you know the old using other parts of your body to compensate.

The other problem is cases like Halladay are very, very, very rare. In this whole debate about surgery or not have you heard of any other pitcher mentioned as avoiding the surgery? I know I haven’t.

For the short term this could help him got back onto the mound and help the Mets. Long term? Well it’s most likely best for his future to just have the surgery. It’s better to have this now when you’re young and can bounce back quicker.

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