Harvey Will Avoid Surgery, Elects To Rehab Elbow

An article by posted on September 17, 2013

matt harvey

Update 2:20 PM

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Matt Harvey has opted to rehabilitate the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and avoid surgery for now.

“The diagnosis apparently was positive enough whereby Harvey is expected to try rehab for now, then begin a throwing program in one-to-two months,” Heyman said.

Harvey still could undergo Tommy John surgery this offseason for the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament if the elbow continues to have issues.

It looks like this decision was ALL Harvey and Dr. Andrews, as neither the Mets nor Scott Boras would comment on the matter.

Update 1:00 PM

Andy Martino spoke with a league source briefed on the situation, and received this answer on whether or not the Mets’ ace will opt for Tommy John surgery: “Still debating.”

This source believed that Harvey is likely to throw a baseball again before making the final decision.

The Mets are being extremely tight-lipped about the situation, and would not confirm this information on any level. Stay tuned.

Update 11:00 AM

Yesterday, Matt Harvey returned from seeing Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida to get that second opinion on the partial UCL tear in his right elbow. However, nobody was talking afterward. Instead, the Mets released this short and somewhat ominous statement:

Matt Harvey saw Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. today for a second opinion on his right elbow. Harvey is on his way back to New York. We expect to have further information tomorrow.

Like all Met fans, I hope to hear some good news today, but I am bracing for the worst. That’s the way it’s always been for our kind…

I’ve read about many different instances where Tommy John Surgery was avoided altogether for UCL tears and pitchers went onto having solid careers – Roy Halladay being one of them. But for every one of those outcomes, there were ten times more in which the pitcher ultimately needed surgery anyway.

I never bought into the prevailing theory that Sandy Alderson would bring a playoff contender to Flushing in 2014. He has no magic wand that I know of, and despite two years of saying he’s had money to spend – he hasn’t. But that’s fodder for another post.

I don’t mind Matt Harvey missing the 2014 season if he decides to have the surgery. I’ve already processed that scenario and have made my peace with it.

With or without Harvey, and barring the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, Stephen Drew and Jose Abreu, I don’t see the Mets eclipsing a .500 season next year. But maybe, just maybe, 2015 can be different… And by “different” I mean that in a good way. I don’t want to see Harvey miss that season…

Anyway, as an anxious fan base awaits, we’ll be here to report whatever the Mets announce today.

Original Post

Today could be decision day  for New York Mets ace Matt Harvey, who will have his right elbow tear examined by notable orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Afterward, he will decide whether or not to proceed with Tommy John surgery that will wipe out his 2014 season, or rehab his elbow and avoid surgery altogether. It’s no secret at this point that Harvey wants to avoid surgery and remains optimistic he will be ready to pitch come Spring Training.

But what factors will weigh into his final decision?

It all comes down to how stable Harvey’s elbow is and the New York Times did a nice job of explaining exactly what will take place today, and how it will ultimately decide Harvey’s fate.

Much, of course, is riding on Harvey’s right elbow. For that reason, Dr. Craig Levitz, the chief of orthopedic surgery at South Nassau Communities Hospital, said Harvey was right to take his time to decide. Levitz spent a year training under Andrews and has performed dozens of these operations alongside him.

At the appointment Monday, Levitz said, Andrews will determine if the ligament is stable. To do that, Andrews will place his hands on either side of Harvey’s elbow, one below and one above, and push his forearm and biceps in opposite directions.

A healthy U.C.L. is taut, Levitz said, and a partly torn U.C.L. is loose, which makes it unstable. If Harvey’s U.C.L. is unstable, when Andrews pushes on his forearm and biceps, there will be a space between the bones. This is where Andrews’s expertise comes in. He has seen so many of these injuries, Levitz said, that Andrews can diagnose, to the millimeter, how unstable the ligament is.

“He can tell if it’s three millimeter, two millimeters, one,” Levitz said.

That test should influence Andrews’s diagnosis. If the ligament is unstable, the discussion will be over, Levitz said. Harvey would be wasting his time rehabilitating it. But if it is stable, Levitz added, “I think you’d be foolish not to rehab it.”

Last week, a very upbeat Harvey told reporters that his arm feels great.

“Everything feels fine,” said Harvey. “My arm feels great. I’m still very optimistic about everything. But I know I’m not a doctor so we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets organization, led by General Manager Sandy Alderson, seems to prefer that Harvey have the operation now, so as not to risk tearing the ligament later and missing part, if not all, of the 2015 season.

The decision however, is Harvey’s alone to make.

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