By Erin K. Blakeley, Shoulder1 Staff
The Atlanta Brave’s shortstop Rafael Furcal was riding high after last year, and who could blame him? By the end of last season he averaged .295 with 40 stolen bases to earn bragging rights as the National League’s Rookie of the Year. Combined with the Brave’s ever-impressive bullpen, Furcal looked to be in a position to lead his team into the playoffs.
But for this year, Furcal will watch the playoffs from the dugout. The 20-year old suffered a complete dislocation of his left shoulder while sliding into second base in a game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday, July 6th.
“When I went past the base, I tried to hang on,” Furcal recalled to the Associated Press. “I slid a little late and covered the whole base.” After the slide, Furcal remained on the dirt, wincing in obvious pain before he left the field.
Yesterday, an MRI revealed damage to the ligaments and cartilage surrounding the dislocation, and the test’s revealed Furcal’s, and Atlanta’s worst fear: that he would require surgery. The surgical procedure will stabilize the ligaments and tendons in the shoulder, and will require a recovery time of at least six months.
A dislocation occurs when the humerus, or upper arm bone, is forced out of the glenoid, or shoulder socket. A dislocation occurs either because of weakness in the rotator cuff, which is the group of muscles that hold the bones of the shoulder in place, or because of a sharp, sudden blow to the shoulder. In Furcal’s case, both factors may have collaborated in causing his injury. Last winter, Furcal injured his shoulder in a similar fashion, but a combination of rest and strength training were enough to return him to the baseball field. This time, that won’t be the case.
This season, Furcal was batting .275, with 4 home runs and 22 stolen bases. The Braves expect Furcal back in the line-up for next season.