Giancarlo Stanton suffered a right hamstring injury this week that has forced him onto the disabled list and will likely keep him away from the Miami Marlins for a few weeks. Now that the Marlins have performed the MRI and taken a look at the actual injury, they have a better idea of how severe the condition is. Stanton has suffered a grade 2 hamstring strain, and that should keep him out of commission for a few week in the "best-case scenario."
"No real timetable," Stanton said. "We don't know how long it will take. Best (case scenario) is probably two or three (weeks). The reality? I don't know really. I've got to be able to walk a normal pace first before I can predict all that."
This was expected given the injury type. The best the Marlins could have ever hoped for was three weeks likely, and given that this is a grade 2 tear, it is likely to go a little longer than that. According to Medscape Reference, the grading of a hamstring tear follows a three-tier system as set out by the American Medical Association:
The American Medical Association (AMA) has described 3 grades of severity of hamstring injuries.
- First-degree strain is the result of stretching of the musculotendinous unit and involves tearing of only a few muscle or tendon fibers.
- Second-degree injury refers to a more severe muscle tear without complete disruption of the musculotendinous unit.
- Third-degree injury refers to a complete tear of the musculotendinous unit.
The musculotendinous unit is the entire system of the hamstring muscle group, including the body of the muscle itself and the tendons attached to the tibia / fibula at the knee and the ischial tuberosity at the hip. The grading of Stanton's tear implies that it was severe enough to take out more than a few muscle fibers, indicating enough severity that the Marlins should expect Stanton to be out for more than one month.
Medscape mentions the return to play in hamstring injuries depends on certain conditions and the player's ability to stretch properly.
Return to play - This can occur anywhere between 3 weeks and 6 months. Isometric strength testing and flexibility testing may be performed prior to returning to play to ensure that no subtle deficits are present that may lead to chronic injury. The clinician must impress upon the patient the importance of stretching and warm-up prior to activities to prevent reinjury. Less than 5 weeks are required before return to play for patients with (1) superficial muscle injury or (2) muscle injury that involves a small cross-section of muscle.
The Marlins and Stanton have no reason to rush, given the season is lost, but the Fish will probably want Stanton back as soon as reasonably possible. Given that this injury, like all musculoskeletal injuries, can be worsened by physical activity if not properly healed, the Marlins should take caution and allow Stanton to set his timetable based on how he feels in addition to the team doctor's recommendations. Proper physical therapy and stretching should allow Stanton to return to the Marlins in an expected month-plus time frame, but do not be surprised if we do no see Stanton until mid- or late-June.