St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen has about three weeks left in his major league career. Izzy is leading the National League in blown saves and now we know why. He has an arthritic left hip that is in much worse condition than what was known by the public.
Isringhausen has inflammation in his hip along with an overall degrading of the hip joint, to the point that lubrication injections and every conceivable non-invasive type were used to help improve his hip malady. Some work, but only in the short term. Think of it as a band-aid approach to get him through the season.
Isringhausen is scheduled to get a cortisone injection and not pitch for about a week. The hope is the inflammation will quiet down enough for him to pitch the last couple of weeks of the season and if the Cardinals are lucky, into the post season.
Because the hip is unstable and Isringhausen struggles with mobility, the future is bleak regarding his left hip. If there was a treatment that would mask or allow him to pitch more effectively, the Cardinals medical staff has likely tried it or considered it. The likely scenario after the season is for Isringhausen to visit a collection of specialists then have hip replacement surgery.
Off the top of my head, I can think of only two professional athletes who had hip replacement surgery and tried to resume playing - Bo Jackson in baseball and football and golfer Jack Nicklaus. Following his surgery, Jackson’s career was over. Nicklaus played on the Senior Tour but with a diminished skill set.
It has been a great career but sadly, Jason Isringhausen is facing near impossible odds to pitch in the majors after this season.
Update: Friday evening
Since providing the Birdhouse with the analysis regarding Jason Isringhausen’s hip condition, I have obtained further information from a source in Phoenix and at the Cardinals game Friday night who spoke with Isringhausen and a Cardinals trainer.
Isringhausen will have a cortisone injection on Monday and attempt to pitch again before the end of the season. Once the season is over, his left hip will be examined again and his future will be discussed.
Isringhausen is leaning heavily toward retiring and may eventually elect to have a surgical procedure on the hip that will reduce his discomfort. At this time, hip replacement surgery is not an option.
It is believed he can lead a normal life outside of baseball without the replacement surgery.
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The Baseball Injury Report is published by Rick Wilton, fantasy baseball's most experienced injury analyst. Rick, with background in radiology, pharmacology and physical therapy, has been a contributor to STATS Inc., Sports Weekly Hot Sheet, and BaseballHQ.com.