Angels’ Mike Trout, doctors share their thoughts on his back injury

The source of Angels star Mike Trout’s back injury has a more specific name: costovertebral dysfunction, the team said Wednesday.

While Trout is still not sure how he got it, he’s not worried.

“It’s getting better every day,” he told reporters in Kansas City, Missouri, after the Angels’ 4-0 win over the Royals. “I’m feeling really good today.”

When asked if he would play again this season, Trout said, “Of course. That is my goal. … The last two days have been a big step.

“I think it’s a little over the top,” he continued, explaining that his phone blew up because people were worried about him being able to play again. “I appreciate all prayer requests, but my career is not over yet.”

The condition, as sports injuries go, is not common. Robert Watkins, the spine surgeon who examined Trout, didn’t see the injury very often, Angels athletic coach Mike Frostad told reporters Wednesday.

“And for that to happen with a baseball player,” Frostad said, “we just have to consider what he’s going through on a daily basis batting and swinging, just preparing, and then playing outfield.”

dr Neel Anand, the director of spinal trauma at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times that the term injury generally describes a disruption, dislocation, or movement at the joint between the rib and the vertebral body.

Although uncommon, Anand says the injury is more likely to occur in athletes in contact sports who are “hit in the chest or hit sideways.”

dr Alan Beyer, orthopedic surgeon and senior medical director at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute, added that repetitive overuse, such as

Beyer also stated that an injury like Trout’s doesn’t mean he’s “doomed to have that flare-up every season.” It is typically treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and physical therapy, and can be managed with adjustments to one’s exercise schedule.

Trout said he needs to “keep in the loop.”

Trout received a cortisone injection in the joint in the thoracic region of his spine last Thursday. It could take two weeks for the full effects to kick in, which Frostad says could also mean another week before he can start swinging a racquet.

“He’s just continuing his rehab progress. And he’s feeling better,” Frostad said. “He’s on a good core stability program and does a lot of cardio. Just rest your back quietly somehow.”

There’s no timeline for his return yet, but the team is concerned about the long-term impact of the issue.

“He’s a bit more optimistic today and I think he’s starting to feel like he’s benefiting from that [of the cortisone]’ Frostad said, ‘but in the long run we have to look at that as something he has to manage, not just for the rest of this season but for the rest of his career.’

Trout, who turns 31 on Aug. 7, has a follow-up appointment with Watkins on Sunday.

Trout was first sidelined with back spasms and pulled out of a game on July 12. Frostad explained that Trout had been experiencing sore muscles since the team’s trip to Miami the week before.

Interim manager Phil Nevin initially wanted to rest him for two games. He ended up benching him for three games. During this week there was cautious optimism from Frostad, Nevin and Trout that he would be back on the starting lineup any day.

The hitter was adamant after the Angels’ game against the Dodgers on July 15 that he would return the next day. Trout was on the starting grid on July 16 but suffered a scratch just before the first pitch as his back problem flared up again.

The next day, Trout decided he didn’t want to risk any more back injuries and withdrew from the All-Star Game. As of July 18, the Angels put him on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 15, with a left chest infection.

In the series finals against the Royals, Janson Junk gave up four hits in more than five innings for his first major league win. Shohei Ohtani reached base three times and drove in one run for the Angels, who won their first series since June 27-29 against the White Sox.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Angels’ Mike Trout, doctors share their thoughts on his back injury

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