Stephen Strasburg's elbow injury has thrown a monkey wrench into the Nationals' game plan this season and possibly the next. It’s a reality for fans they likely want to forget, but the rookie pitcher is undergoing a reconstructive procedure that is proven to be a success among other MLB pitchers.
What is it and how does it work? Well, meet Tommy John. It's a surgical procedure that reconstructs the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), a ligament on the inside of the elbow joint, by using a tendon from the forearm.
"The tendon is used to recreate the damaged ligament and improve the stability of the elbow joint. Tommy John surgery was developed by Dr. Frank Jobe in Los Angeles … the surgery can be used to extend the career in many baseball pitchers; the success rate following surgery is about 85%."
So the odds are working in Strasburg's favor.
Additionally, his teammate Jordan Zimmerman also had Tommy John Surgery. He pitched in the majors for the first time Thursday night after about a year in rehab.
As for the fans, they are simply left with the hope that Strasburg's suddenly dimmed star will one day soon gets its shine back.