Joba Chamberlain lost so much blood Thursday when he hurt his ankle while playing with his son that there initially was concern for his life, a Yankees' source said.Cashman did sound somewhat optimistic about an eventual return to the mound for Joba, but he was probably just trying to stay positive in the eyes of what is clearly a very bad situation for Joba and his career in baseball.
At the very least, the gruesome open dislocation of Chamberlain's right ankle could be career-threatening and probably will preclude Chamberlain from pitching for the Yankees this season.
"Keep him in our prayers, because obviously he's facing a lot right now," said Cashman, who appeared shaken while delivering the news. Chamberlain was trying to come back from Tommy John surgery on his elbow and was throwing the ball well enough to believe he'd be back in the Yankee bullpen in a few months.
Cashman said Chamberlain was at a children's recreation center when the accident occurred and, though the GM said he didn't yet know the full story on how Chamberlain was hurt, he added, "I believe it was a trampoline, whether it was a trampoline specifically — any of you who have kids, there's places out there you can go with your children and it's a lot of gymnastic stuff. That's what it sounds like. That's a loose description."
Dr. Steven Weinfeld, the Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service and Associate Professor or Orthopedic Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said an open dislocation could be a "career-threatening injury."
"The dislocation means the ankle bone is forced out of its socket by some sort of injury and 'open' means the skin is ripped open, like with what Joe Theismann had with his injury," said Weinfeld, who has not treated Chamberlain but is an expert on such injuries. "This makes it a much more serious injury because the skin envelope has been violated. When the skin is intact, it's much easier to heal."
"This makes it not only a career-threatening injury, but a limb-threatening injury. There is a small percentage of people who end up with an amputation. There are a small percentage of people, if the skin envelope doesn't heal, they are susceptible to infection and that can lead to amputation. These days, that's less likely to happen because we have good antibiotics."
Weinfeld added, "I would be very surprised if he played this year. He won't be able to weight-bear for two or three months, let alone start baseball activities."
If you're wondering, Buster Olney reported earlier today that the Yankees are not upset with Joba for playing with his son on the way he did. I don't necessarily believe that, but that's a discussion for another day.
Curt Schilling, who knows a thing or two about ankle injuries, was on ESPN today and said that if he does ever return to the mound that he is likely facing at least two years of serious rehabilitation.