Some things never change. On Saturday, reports were coming out saying that six-time Gold Glove winner, Eric Chavez, was put on the 15-day disabled list. Chavez, who seemed healthy all season long, announced that he’d been hiding his neck injury, and that he’s been dealing with neck spasms for most of the season.
Coincidentally, however, the A’s did activate Mark Ellis today—without having to release anyone. So, this begs the question as to whether or not Chavez’s injury is as serious as it may seem. Did the A’s simply tell Chavez to go on the DL, and possibly retire? I did some research on “bulging disks” that happen to take form in the neck. Below is an excerpt from what I found during my research:
Causes of a Bulging Disc in Neck
Though usually a condition affecting the lumbar region (lower back), occasionally, a bulging disc may occur in the neck area. Usually, pain that radiates to the shoulders and arms indicates that a nerve in the neck may be pinched or pushed upon. In the lower back, pain may radiate to the legs.
When the discs lose some of their ability to act as cushions, most often it is due to loss of water content. This may lead to more stress and tears as the cycle repeats itself. As it loses water content, the disc collapses allowing the two vertebrae above and below to move closer to one another resulting in a narrowing of the disc space between the two vertebrae.
Recovery from a Bulging Disc in Neck
Complete rest and minimal movement is a key aspect in recovery. Some over the counter medications may be taken to help with the pain and swelling and some may find relief with physiotherapy. In most cases, at home exercises may be recommended. It may also be helpful to apply alternating heat and cold to the affected area(s).
It is important to get as much bed rest as possible. A firm mattress and firm pillows should be used to keep the back as straight as possible. Legs should be elevated by placing a small or medium size pillow under the knees.
Is Surgery an Option for Treatment?
Before making any decisions on whether surgery is an option you would want to explore, it is important to discuss all treatment options with your doctor. Tests will be performed and your history and current symptoms and level of pain, frequency of pain as well as your normal day to day activities will be reviewed.
Traditional surgery involves complications and risks and is often performed as a last resort because of this.
There are now minimally invasive surgeries that have little to no risk with a number of benefits, including no hospital stay, no use of general anesthesia, quick recovery and return to normal activity. Most often, patients are encouraged to walk just hours after their surgery.
This latest injury does not sound career-ending, but you never know. If I had to place money on it, however, I’d say the A’s pushed Chavy a little bit to head to the DL and ponder retirement. Last season, Jason Giambi was placed on the DL and was never activated, despite admitting that he was healthy enough to play. Giambi was later release, which ended his return stint with Oakland on a sour note. However, since Chavez is the longest-tenured player in Oakland history, I think the A’s front office wanted to handle the situation a little better than the Giambi situation.
Jack Cust had been swinging the bat well in Triple-A, and when asked about a possible return to DH for Cust, A’s manager Bob Geren, did not give a straight answer. This to me, was an indication that something was not quite right. Chavez, who is in his last year of the six-year deal he signed in 2004, might have played his last game in an Oakland uniform. So, I would not be shocked to hear about Chavez retiring in the coming weeks.
I just hope that Chavez does recover, and play for Oakland this y ear. It’s terrible to see such a talented guy get derailed by so many injuries. Hopefully this injury is not too serious, but I am prepared, however, to see Chavy retire as one of the great-A’s players.