Chris Duncan believes sports hernia may have been result of sibling rivalry

Updated: September 22, 2007, 7:36 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan believes the sports hernia that ended his season a few weeks early may have been a result of a heated offseason sibling rivalry in the weight room.

The 26-year-old Duncan said he and brother Shelley, 27, an outfielder with the New York Yankees, usually lift weights and work out together in the offseason. As kids, the sons of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan constantly battled, and it has carried over to their professional careers.

"This offseason we tried to work out together, and it got so bad we started going to the gym at separate times," Chris Duncan said. "We'd warm up playing basketball and the next thing you know we were going full on.

"We can't do that, we're going to get hurt."

In the weight room, they're forever trying to top one another. Now both brothers have a sports hernia. Shelley Duncan, who also has a bone bruise in his left pelvis, is postponing his operation until the Yankees' season is over.

The Yankees went into Saturday leading the AL wild card standings and trailing the Boston Red Sox by 2½ games in the AL East.

"I'd go and then he would put another plate on, then I would go and I'd try to slip one on, and the next thing you know we're like blown out," Chris Duncan said. "We can't work out together, it gets too competitive."

Duncan underwent surgery on Thursday for what turned out to be a double hernia. The trouble began with an injured left groin, and he said after about a week of compensating for that injury the other side began to bother him.

Operating on both groins increases the rehab time by two weeks for Chris Duncan, who said he should be fully recovered in 10 weeks. He's restricted to walking for 10 days and then said he can resume lifting.

Shelley Duncan, a rookie, had six homers and 15 RBIs since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on July 21, but had only limited playing time this month, going 0-for-3 since Sept. 5.

Chris Duncan had 21 homers and 70 RBIs in his first full season, but was only 1-for-7 with one RBI from Sept. 6 on. Before his operation he said he'd feel fine after a few days of rest but that any game action would bring the problems right back.

"He feels like he can still play," Chris Duncan said of Shelley. "So did I, and I wasn't very effective. Hitting a baseball is a hard thing to do when you're 100 percent."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press