Matt Kemp has a setback, surgery + Sue Falsone & Stephen Downey won’t return

MattKempAnkle

Because nothing can ever come easy for the Dodgers, Matt Kemp had surgery on his left ankle on Monday and might not be ready for the regular season. Kemp must have had a setback because Dr. Neal ElAttrache said at the end of the season that surgery wasn’t going to be necessary.

Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp underwent surgery on his damaged left ankle on Monday. The club said he is expected to be “competitive” in time for the regular season, but apparently not for Spring Training.

Kemp injured the ankle on July 21 while sliding awkwardly into home plate in Washington after admittedly not running hard from third base on a ground ball. Originally diagnosed as a sprained ankle, Kemp attempted to rehab the injury, but pain persisted.

When Kemp was declared out for the playoffs, Dr. Neal ElAttrache said the injury was to a major weight-bearing bone, and a complete fracture could put Kemp’s career in jeopardy.

The arthroscopic operation included the removal of several spurs and a loose body.

More importantly, it involved microfracture of the talus bone, a procedure of punching numerous holes in the bone to stimulate the formation of an overlying layer of fibrocartilage. The operation was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., and not by ElAttrache. Anderson is a team physician for the Carolina Panthers.

Kemp will be in a splint for two weeks and a non-weight bearing boot for another two weeks. It’s unknown when he is expected to resume baseball activities.

So basically the ONLY upside to this is that if it wasn’t conclusive before that “gutting it out” for the playoffs wasn’t an option … well those trolls can go crawl back under their bridges now.

Back in reality, it’s disappointing because it sounded like he could’ve been healthy a month or so BEFORE Spring Training, which would’ve given him time to get his body right coming into the year. Now we’re back into 2012 mode, except with his ankle and not his shoulder.

I just hope that if he’s not ready to go to start 2014, that they can actually admit it and keep him in rehab until he’s ready. Also, this likely means the Dodgers keep all four of their highly-paid outfielders going into the year, unless they really like Scott Van Slyke or Joc Pederson.

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In somewhat related news, head trainer Sue Falsone won’t be back, and neither will strength and conditioning coach Stephen Downey.

“It is with a heavy heart to say that I will not be returning to the LA Dodgers in order to pursue other opportunities within my career,” Falsone said in a statement. “I would like to thank ownership, Ned Colletti and Stan Conte for the incredible opportunity they have given me, not only over the last two years as the head athletic trainer and physical therapist, but for the six years I have been involved with the organization. To be a part of such a storied organization has truly been my honor.

“I’d like to thank Don [Mattingly] and the coaches for welcoming me as part of their staff. I’d like to thank fans for their incredible support they have shown me in so many ways. And finally, thank you to the players and their families for allowing me to be a part of your lives and healthcare. You are truly the reason I do what I do.”

It also is confirmed that Stephen Downey, who was in his second season as strength and conditioning coach, won’t be retained as part of the major league staff. Downey could return somewhere within the organization. He spent five seasons as strength coach for Dodgers minor league affiliates, including at high Single-A in 2007-08 and at Triple-A Albuquerque from 2009-11.

Maybe you could accept the excuse that she left for greener pastures if it was just her leaving, but the fact that the strength and conditioning coach is gone as well basically confirms that she was forced out and that it was connected to the team’s propensity for injuries this season.

Do I think the two of them are to blame for all this? I don’t know. And I think that’s the only honest answer one can give. There’s too much that goes into prevention, treatment, and rehab to make an educated guess, because we don’t know anything about the situations and decisions.

Based on results alone, though, I guess heads had to roll. But I honestly don’t expect things to get significantly better in 2014 just because of this. Injuries will always happen and fans are seemingly always complaining about trainers, regardless of team or sport.

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