Ellsbury MRI shows new rib injury

Updated: June 10, 2010, 8:00 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

CLEVELAND -- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will need "several weeks" of rest and rehabilitation after an examination in Los Angeles revealed another fractured rib, according to a statement released by the club Thursday.

The fracture was revealed in an MRI administered by Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Los Angeles orthopedist whom Ellsbury went to see Wednesday on the recommendation of his agent, Scott Boras. The fracture was on the posterior side of Ellsbury's ribs, where inflammation was discovered, and was not present on previous scans, although there was some question whether Ellsbury's posterior ribs had been checked previously.

Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill wrote Thursday night in an e-mail that the area had been previously scanned.

"There was no injury posteriorly after the original injury," he said.

The injury, according to a statement attributed jointly to Yocum and Gill, said Ellsbury did not sustain the newly discovered rib fracture in his collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre in April. Rather, the statement said, it is "likely the result of a new injury which occurred when Jacoby dove and impacted the ground during his brief return to play.''

The play referred to by the statement was a diving catch Ellsbury made in his second game back on May 23. What is puzzling is that Ellsbury insisted he felt fine after the play, which perhaps explains why the statement cites a diving play as only a "likely" cause of the fracture. Given that Ellsbury reported a recurrence of the symptoms he'd experienced earlier, it would seem plausible that the fifth rib had been fractured in the original collision.

But Gill said in his e-mail that had been ruled out. "Dr. Yocum concurs," he wrote.

Ellsbury, according to manager Terry Francona, was on his way to Arizona, where he maintains his offseason home, to rest and undergo physical therapy at Athletes Performance Institute, site of his offseason workouts.

The initial injury occurred April 11 against the Royals and Ellsbury missed the next 37 games before returning to the lineup on May 22 against the Phillies. But Ellsbury would play in just three games after coming back, eventually landing back on the disabled list after experiencing pain in his side. Given the timetable, it seems very unlikely he will return to the Sox lineup before the All-Star Game on July 13.

Here is the complete text of the Sox statement from Yocum and Gill:

"An MRI of Jacoby's thoracic spine and posterior rib area, recommended by us jointly, revealed a non-displaced rib fracture and edema in the left posterior-axillary line. This fracture, which is in a different area than the initial fractures and which was not present on previous scans, is likely the result of a new injury which occurred when Jacoby dove and impacted the ground during his brief return to play. Jacoby will require several weeks of rest and physical therapy."

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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