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Lowrie has wrist surgery

Procedure won't end his season

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By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / April 22, 2009
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Jed Lowrie should finally get some relief. After enduring pain from May until October last season, discovering the nondisplaced fracture in his left wrist only after the Red Sox were knocked out of the playoffs, Lowrie has had the repairs made. No more rest and rehabilitation and cortisone shots. This time, Lowrie got the surgery - an arthroscopic ligament repair and an ulnar styloid excision, to be exact.

So by the time the Red Sox filtered into Fenway Park yesterday and long before the game against the Twins was rained out, Lowrie already was off the operating table in Arizona - and was about six weeks from picking up a bat.

The shortstop told the team April 12 that his wrist was bothering him, and a solution finally was arrived at. After meeting with his fifth doctor in a third state, Donald Sheridan, on Monday, Lowrie had the surgery yesterday. He had the scapholunate ligament repaired, and the distal end of the ulnar styloid was excised, according to manager Terry Francona, who carried a cheat sheet into the news conference so he would get the names of the procedures correct.

"The big good news for us is there's no damage to the TFCC [triangular fibrocartilage complex], which is the cartilage, which is the potential problem," Francona said. (The TFCC is similar to the meniscus in the knee.) "Everything that was done today puts him right on track to start swinging a bat at six weeks, which is I think what the hope was when this came up."

Francona had said Monday that Lowrie, if he had surgery, could return before the All-Star break, which remains an accurate assessment. Lowrie will be in a splint for about 10 days, then will have his stitches removed. He may remain in Arizona, where he owns an offseason home, since he can't perform any baseball-related activities for at least 10 days.

As for his return, "I don't know that you can put an exact date on it," Francona said. "Everybody's a little different. Some guys are a couple weeks quicker, some guys are a couple weeks slower. We'll see, but I think it's generally really good news."

With Lowrie only able to pick up a bat in six weeks, the six- to eight-week estimates might be a little on the optimistic side.

The team - and Lowrie - had feared the shortstop might need season-ending surgery, but that turned out not to be the course they opted to take. Neither was playing through the injury, with cortisone shots to help with the pain. Instead of removing the bone that Lowrie fractured, that ulnar styloid, repairs were made to the affected area.

With the wrist affecting him at the start of the season (though it didn't at the beginning of spring training), Lowrie had just one hit in 18 at-bats, with eight strikeouts. Then what had been a dull pain became worse. After a talk with his manager in Anaheim, Lowrie was placed on the disabled list April 13, leading to meetings with three doctors.

Lowrie's surgery likely leaves fill-in shortstop Nick Green with an extended stay in Boston. Julio Lugo is on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket, but could be near a return from the torn meniscus that landed him on the disabled list in spring training.

Lugo was scheduled to debut for Pawtucket last night, but the game was rained out. The plan is for him to play today, then again Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with the PawSox off tomorrow. The Sox will then assess Lugo's progress, which could put him on line to play on the upcoming trip to Cleveland, Tampa, and New York.

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