196px-Mark_Teixeira_basepaths_2011So, as expected, the two weeks initially projected for Mark Teixeira to rest and rehab his wrist injury has morphed into a likely eight to ten-week recovery period; That is certainly more realistic and still no slam-dunk. The strain was identified as being to Teixeira’s ECU, or extensor carpi ulnaris tendon. Brian Cashman was quoted as saying that “treatment is four weeks of no activity and then four to six weeks of getting him going, which is dry swings and eventually the tee, and then toss and then batting practice and spring training.

The initial and necessary period of inactivity (accompanied by treatment to minimize inflammation) allows for the healing response of the involved tendon but causes deconditioning of the ECU as well as all the other muscles of the region. Rest will be followed by a program of pain-free progressive strengthening of the forearm, wrist, and hand musculature, as well stretching of the forearm muscles. This must precede a return to any baseball activities. Pushing the pace of rehab and return to sports is likely to result in exacerbation or recurrence of injury. Don’t look for Texeira to play until his wrist is 100%.

What is the ECU?

The ECU spans from its origin near the elbow on the outer side (lateral epicondyle) of the humerus of the upper arm and the middle of the ulna in the forearm to its insertion at the base of the long bone below the pinky finger (the 5th metacarpal). It acts to tilt the hand toward the side of the little finger (ulnar deviation) – important for batting – as well as to extend the wrist.

More injuries around the league:

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays third baseman reportedly suffered a mild left oblique strain and was pulled from the World Baseball Classic. Despite having had a similar injury toward the end of last season causing him to miss a good deal of action, reports varied, noting that Lawrie would likely miss either two or several weeks this go-round. Though I haven’t evaluated his injury to know its severity, I’d be surprised to see Lawrie back at the plate during spring training. For more information on oblique injuries take a look here.

Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals switch-hitting shortstop, elected to rest and rehab his right elbow at the end of last season rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. Turns out he was postponing the inevitable. Though the time to return to full competition for a pitcher who undergoes the procedure is generally 11 months to a year, reports indicate an expected return for Furcal as soon as eight months hence. The matter is moot as that puts us into the off-season.

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About the author

Abby serves as the Injury Expert for CBS New York where, since 2010, her Injury Breakdown Blog examines injuries in professional sports. She also blogs on health & fitness as well as sports injuries for Huffington Post, and Recovery Physical Therapy.com, where her blog earned a top ten mention for physical therapy blogs in 2012 @ WorldWideLearn.com. In a ranking of the Top 30 Healthcare Blogs for 2012, Top Masters in Healthcare also rated Abby’s blog in the top three in Physical Therapy! Abby is the founder of Fit-Screen and she welcomes your comments and questions!