The initial results of the imaging on Giancarlo Stanton's ugly hit-by-pitch injury at the hands of Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers are back, and the results do not sound good. According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Stanton has suffered several injuries, including multiple fractures, a significant facial laceration, and dental injuries.
The fractures could involve a variety of different bones in the face. Much of the concern involves whether or not there was orbital involvement. The orbit is the socket that houses the eye and is formed by multiple bones of the head and face. Any orbital involvement would be concerning for subsequent eye injury or progression of damage to the eye, which may lead to severe impairment if not repaired. The thought is that an orbital injury may have required more immediate surgery, and the fact that Miami is capable of releasing Stanton to travel to Miami on Friday may be a good sign, according to noted sports injury writer Will Carroll.
It's a very good sign that Stanton can travel. If his eye was in question, would be immediate surgery. I'll have article up soon at B/R.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) September 12, 2014
My thought is that the fact that the club is suturing and traveling is likely that there will not be much in the way of emergent orbital care. I encourage you to read the full article from Carroll, as it is an excellent, informative piece.
If the damage is lower than the level of the orbit, there is a question as to whether surgical management is necessary. It would depend on the oral maxilofacial surgeon who eventually sees Stanton at the team's behest and what they view as necessary for reduction or what can likely heal on its own. Carroll mentions that dental injuries may be a better sign in terms of avoiding the eye, as the injury may have occurred lower in the maxilla rather than closer to the orbit. But dental injuries carry their own risks, including introduction of oral mucosal bacteria into the sinuses that sit in the cheeks.
The major bony concern in terms of fracture appears to be the zygomatic arch, which is apparently a difficult repair.
Giancarlo STANTON @Marlins hit in face w/ pitch. Main worry is zygomatic arch fracture. Orbit/eye thankfully appear ok. Scary. Hope he's ok.— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) September 12, 2014
Either way, it seems pretty apparent that Stanton will not return to the Marlins this season. Jason Heyward serves as a reasonable example of a similar problem. Heyward was hit by a pitch and suffered a fractured jaw last season, and he missed a month of time before returning to play. Stanton's maxillary injury may leave more structures unstable, so even if surgical intervention is minimal, it is likely that he will need to be given a good amount of healing, non-contact time after this week. I would not expect Stanton to return to the lineup in 2014.
Stanton was closing in on finishing a six-win campaign and a possible MVP season. This major health concern and injury severely derails his best season and will probably cut it short. Fish Stripes hopes for the best in Stanton's recovery! Stay tuned right here for more news as we receive it.