2008 NEWS

2008 News > 8/16/08

GLAVINE: LIGAMENT SURGERY WOULD SIGNAL END TO CAREER

By Carroll Rogers, AJC.com

Tom Glavine believes he's headed to surgery to repair his sore left elbow, but he hopes and believes what the surgery will be to repair a torn flexor tendon, not his ligament.

Surgery to repair the flexor tendon would require only about three to four months’ recovery time, Glavine said. In that case he would be ready to pitch at the start of next season, and he would consider pitching next year.

If his ligament is damaged to the point of needing ligament-transplant surgery — which requires 12-16 months recovery and is much more difficult on a 42-year-old — he said he will not have the surgery and he will retire.

Glavine has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham on Wednesday to find out which way he’ll go.

“All the discussions I’ve had, and the MRI I had before, were that it’s my flexor tendon,” Glavine said. “The soreness that I have now is the same soreness I had then. You can pinpoint a needlehead as to where the pain is, and it just puts me through the roof when you touch it, so it’s very similar in that regard. There’s been some discussions about what my ligament might look like, but I think there’s a very low percentage that there might be something wrong with my ligament.

“And if there was, honestly, I’d leave it alone and I’d be done. I wouldn’t come back from that kind of surgery now. I’d fix the flexor tendon and leave the ligament alone and live the rest of my life.”

Glavine attempted to return to the mound after missing two months Thursday night and felt discomfort while allowing seven runs on seven hits in four innings to the Cubs in an 11-7 loss.

Glavine said his elbow bothered him more Thursday than after his two minor-league rehabilitation starts. The Braves put him back on the disabled list Friday morning.

“It’s going down the same road I was before, and I know it’s not going to get any better,” Glavine said. “I had one spot on my elbow where you touch it, it hurt, and I didn’t have that before. I knew that wasn’t a good sign.”

As for his future and whether he might return next season with the Braves, Glavine said there are too many variables to know just yet.

“There’s too much uncertainty with what’s going on in my arm, No. 1,” Glavine said. “No. 2, I haven’t even remotely sat down and had a conversation with [Braves general manager] Frank [Wren] as to if they have any notions of having me back. I think in their mind a lot of that, too, would stem from what happens with my elbow.”

Glavine, who lives in Atlanta with his wife and four children, said he would pitch next season only for the Braves.

“By no means do I want to go through another year with what I’m going through now,” Glavine said. “But at the same time, I don’t think in my mind I want my career to end this way either. That lends me to thinking that I want to pitch next year.”