2012 Reds

Votto’s knee

John Fay writes a pretty lengthy article on the handling of Joey Votto’s knee, some highlights:

“It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I thought it was important to talk to (trainer) Paul Lessard and (general manager) Walt Jocketty,” he said. “I was feeling great after those four days off at the All-Star break. Then coming back, I was at 85, 95 percent running. It just started swelling up and felt like I tweaked something. It felt like it did back in San Francisco.

“That’s when I knew it was time to go in and talk some more about it. I thought it was handled perfectly. I really do. I got to play in California and I healed. Then my knee told me the truth.”

On not getting the MRI:

“No, all of us players, we deal with things here and there,” he said. “Sometimes, you think you might need some help and then it heals. Other times, you don’t think you need help and it’s serious.

“I was always taught to just stay out of the training room, play as much as you can. When you can play, play. For better or for worse, I think in the long run that’s going to pay off for me and hopefully the Reds.

“I healed really quickly after I got taken out of the game in San Francisco. I did very well. I was very optimistic. I was hoping in was something muscular. It turned out to be a small structural thing.”

He also said that the pennant race was part of it:

“We’re trying to stay in first place and win the division,” he said. “That’s another reason why I thought it was wise to wait it out. Hopefully, it’ll heal and I’ll be able to help the team.”

On the team not requiring him to get an MRI:

“It’s difficult for the organization,” he said. “Initially, they do all the tests they can. They did all the structural tests they could, then strength tests. I passed them all. When a player has trouble and comes in and asks for help, then all of the sudden, it gets to the point where the player is almost back to neutral. It’s hard for an organization to tell a player, ‘we got to get you in.’ Because you’re improving so quickly. And I was improving.

Read the whole article….

In my opinion, the biggest issues are these…it was apparent to fans and broadcasters alike that SOMETHING was wrong with Votto. Why the Reds front office and training staff couldn’t see it and weren’t proactive, is the mystery. Apparently they’d done the structural and strength tests, so why not do the MRI? It costs a couple thousand dollars and takes an hour…shouldn’t you err on the side of caution with your team’s best player and your 10 year – $225M investment?

This is Joey Votto being both a tough player and a good guy and trying to take the heat off the Reds front office and medical staff…

15 thoughts on “Votto’s knee

  1. They absolutely should have done the MRI, although I don’t know how much of a difference it would have made in the standings. He misses the games previously, or currently. Granted he wasn’t himself over that stretch, but he did put up a decent OBP.

  2. This is why Big Bob was willing to pony up $200M+ for a long-term contract. Votto is not the only player with grossly superb baseball skills, but I dare say Votto is the only one who would have received the payday from Big Bob and the Reds. Mothers & fathers take note. This is the celebrity for your children to idolize and mimic (like we have soooooo much say in the matter). Votto shuns the celebrity spotlight and the grossly extravagant trapping associated with that celebrity status. He is a ball player. His personal life is seperate & private. He wants it that way and he keeps it that way. He is a great ball player and he knows how great he can play the game, but he uses that knowledge to push himself to excellence rather than flaunt his capabilities. He can’t do it by himself, but he will lead the Reds back to the WS. He is a leader in every sense of the word and that is the crux of this article.

  3. It’s really concerning that none of the people involved appear to think the injury was mishandled. Does that mean they will follow the same course the next time?

    All of the descriptions confirm the simple fact that the knee was injured and no one took a pro-active step to really find out. Nothing of what we know now disputes that the MRI should have been given right after the injury occurred in San Francisco. Too much de facto decision-making authority was given to the player. That player over-estimated his own healing capability, was looking at the short term (“I got to play in California”) and ultimately under-estimated the injury itself. No surprise or fault in any of that, he’s not a medical expert.

    The medical staff should have been concerned about getting the diagnosis right, given the stakes involved. The manager and GM should have been thinking about the All-Star break and taking advantage of that time surgery was necessary. Anyone who watched Votto play, especially hit, could see something was wrong, regardless of how he said he felt. Someone should have insisted they do the MRI before the break.

    The fact that “no one thought it was serious” is not evidence that they handled it “perfectly” it’s actually proof that they blew it.

    Yes, the surgery would have taken place either way. But if they do it before the All-Star break then the four days of the break would translate into four fewer actual games that Votto misses. That’s a big deal. Plus, he played hurt for a good portion of the time from June 29 to July 15. No home runs, for example.

    Everyone who played a part in this situation was acting with good intentions, from the Reds trainings staff to Joey Votto himself. And maybe they actually do recognize they didn’t handle it the best way, but are just not admitting it publicly. I hope they aren’t sitting around reading each other’s press releases saying, yeah, we really were right here, good job us.

    I suppose in this case it’s better to hope they are just not telling the truth instead of likely to repeat the same mistake the next time.

    • It’s really concerning that none of the people involved appear to think the injury was mishandled..

      That is what they are saying publically, and there is zero chance anything but that would be put out to the press. Behind closed doors you hope it’s a different view.

      • That is what they are saying publically, and there is zero chance anything but that would be put out to the press.Behind closed doors you hope it’s a different view.

        If this is true, you should be able to tell at some point if changes are made in personnel.

        • The Reds are pretty clearly in CYA mode. I can’t say I blame them for that. If they aren’t addressing the problem internally, however, I’d be very surprised. It’s obvious that this was handled less-than-perfectly from the beginning.

        • If this is true, you should be able to tell at some point if changes are made in personnel.

          I would be shocked if there is any “personal” changes, what would happen is probably a slap on the wrist, a new “policy” in handling injuries and such, but there are better chances Dusty puts Bruce in the 4th spot then someone losing their job.

        • I would be shocked if there is any “personal” changes, what would happen is probably a slap on the wrist, a new “policy” in handling injuries and such, but there are better chances Dusty puts Bruce in the 4th spot then someone losing their job.

          I’d be all for this if this was the first time this type of misdiagnosis happened. Doc Hollywood might be a great surgeon, but he doesn’t seem to be that great a diagnostician.

      • That is what they are saying publically, and there is zero chance anything but that would be put out to the press.Behind closed doors you hope it’s a different view.

        Bob Castellini is not a stupid man. I’m sure he’s taking a very close look into what happened. He hasn’t fired anyone, but I would bet that some hell has been raised.

  4. Sorry but when it comes to pro atheletes especially, they need to be treated like small kids when it comes to injury issues. The franchise has to be the parent in this process and do what is best for the athlete even if the athlete believes they don’t need the treatment.

    This was a blunder on a major scale by someone and as I said before, someone needs to be fired. Be it the trainers, or the team doctors or all the way up to Walt or Dusty. It was clear to even fans that Votto had a key injury that should have been handled like it was, not how it was.

    Look at how both Toronto and Boston handled their two major injuries this week….that is how you handle it, you don’t go with “oh he can play his way through it”.

  5. A player got injured and he tried to play through it. He got more rest, just like Phillips did when he had the hamstring issue earlier in the year.

    No one knew how serious it was. Like I said, bumps, bruises, aches and pains are part of sports. If every athlete got an MRI for every discomfort they have, there would be a line to the trainers room daily.

    Is that what you guys are proposing?

    It was handled properly. The Reds think so. Joey thinks so. I think so.

    Forget about it and move on. No one is getting fired. No one needs to be held “accountable” for this. It was a miscalculation all around and that’s all there is to it.

    • If every athlete got an MRI for every discomfort they have, there would be a line to the trainers room daily.

      Is that what you guys are proposing?

      I’ll say that any time Joey Votto’s knee swells up and is uncomfortable to the point where he can’t play for two days, I would do an MRI out of precaution. The All-Star break provides a special context because it offered the opportunity for four days of recovery time without missing a game. You wouldn’t have that during most times of the year.

      It’s all about how aggressive the medical staff (or management) wants to be. We heard from professional trainer here yesterday that in his job, if something like that happens, they order an MRI right away. He was very surprised the Reds didn’t.

      Are you saying that because the Reds and Joey Votto say something that we should just accept that uncritically?

  6. I’m with CI3J on this one. Hindsight is 20-20. I don’t recall anyone clamoring for a MRI until the news came out.

    A major league trainer has conflicted loyalties and duties. If he goes trotting off to management every time he gets told something by a player about an injury, then the players will be hesitant to confide in him, when that confidential relationship can be crucial. (And, frankly, the trainer may have HIPAA issues in doing so.) But the trainer is also an employee with other duties to his employer. Ballplayers want to play, and I think that’s all Votto and the training staff were trying to do. Yes, Votto may miss 3-4 more games than if it had been caught before the All-Star break, but that’s the nature of the hyper-competitive mindset guys like Votto have.

    Joey Votto sure is a stand-up guy, no? He wasn’t about to blame anybody else for the situation.

  7. I would hope that Reds would thoroughly debrief this situation with an eye toward developing procedures and protocols to use in future situations.

    This said, should we really be surprised that in an industry (pro sports) that is struggling and clearly late to come to terms with truly serious head/ brain injuries, there are no protocols that dictate how to handle an injury that when all is said and done will probably turn out to be significant (because of the lost playing time) but medically a relatively minor injury?

    As Nick Massett unravelled last season, three former pitchers who in varying roles cover the Reds (Welch, Brantley, and Doc Rodgers) commented on multiple occasions that Massett was throwing like a guy with shoulder issues. However apparently it was not until deep into spring training this year that the team really started taking a seriously look Massett’s health….

  8. No one has mentioned that Joey aggravated his injury in the St. Louis series. Maybe the tear occurred then. We’ll never know.

    My main complaint is that the AS break was such an excellent opportunity “to be safe and sure” in this case. Give him a thorough exam and if there’s any question about his playing in the AS game, then don’t play him, even if he wants to.

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