Should Billingsley Setback Influence Harvey’s Rehab Schedule?
There’s not a simple answer to this question.
First and foremost, the news of Billingsley should absolutely NOT affect either of the Mets pitchers’ timetables. Only the individual pitcher’s comfort and progress should influence the recovery timetable.
Should the Mets be cautious about their pitchers’ rehab? Of course, absolutely — but that should be the case regardless of whether Billingsley had a setback or not. And by “cautious,” we don’t mean “slow.” Rather, it means that the pitcher must pay close attention to his body, share information about what and how he’s feeling with the appropriate people (trainer, rehab coordinator, doctor, etc.), and the team must properly interpret what the pitcher is communicating and adjust his rehab schedule accordingly. In almost no case is it intelligent or effective to arbitrarily slow down a pitcher’s rehab schedule, assuming the pitcher is progressing without discomfort or other incident. If the recovery process is going well, in fact, it can be dangerous to halt it. The point of rehab is to rebuild and re-train the muscle fibers, and the only way to do that is by putting a gradual and consistent load on them. If you are working and pushing the muscles consistently over a significant time period, they will get stronger. However, if you work and push them and then suddenly stop, then the muscles stop developing.
Which is why I’m befuddled by the Mets’ decision to prevent Matt Harvey from throwing off a mound on schedule — according to various reports, he was supposed to throw off of a mound for the first time on June 10, but, per The Daily News, ” after consultation with team doctor Dr. David Altchek and surgeon Dr. James Andrews — decided to slow the pace of of Harvey’s rehab.” Further, from the same article, pitching coach Dan Warthen‘s reply to when Harvey might throw off a mound was, “It hasn’t been determined yet.”
From the perspective of an outsider such as myself — who has no knowledge of what’s really happening, and therefore, talking out of one’s arse — I would want Harvey up on a mound as soon as possible, to get a look at his mechanics and make any necessary adjustments right away. Again, this is assuming that Harvey is feeling good, has no discomfort, and the rehab process has been smooth sailing so far. The sooner Harvey gets on a mound and gets the flaw that caused the injury fixed, the better chance he has of returning to the dominating force he was prior to the injury. Waiting around for the sake of waiting around, or because the assumption that “holding back” and “being cautious” are the same thing (they’re not, necessarily), doesn’t make sense to me. Again, maybe there are details not being shared with the public.
However, sport kinesiologist Angel Borrelli has one plausible explanation of why the Mets chose to hold back Harvey. You can hear her take on that and the Billingsley situation, as well as learn more about the rehab process from TJ surgery in general, by listening below:
If you can’t hear the podcast here, try listening to it on BlogTalkRadio.