The news that Derek Jeter will not return to the Yankees’ lineup before the All Star Break because of a new small fracture in the region of his prior break came as a surprise to many. However, each time Jeter seemed to move forward in his rehab and baseball related activities, his progress was neutralized by then taking a few steps back. Something was getting in Jeter’s way and it was more than a “cranky ankle”, No matter the optimism of the media reports, now we know what it was.
Yankees’ GM, Brian Cashman, asserted that Jeter did not begin baseball activities until medically cleared to do so. Certainly that seems logical and likely. Jeter’s earlier CT scans reportedly showed a progression of his post-operative fracture from healing to 100 percent healed, at which time he received the go-ahead. Only the newest exam revealed a small “new” crack that explained Jeter’s ongoing symptoms.
Though I don’t have access to his medical records to know definitively, it is worth noting that Jeter’s “new” fracture may not be as new as it appears. The break, as is typical of stress fractures, may simply not have been discerned on x-ray until it began to heal. The less significant a fracture, the more likely this is to be the case. Sometimes an affected area announces itself only as the calcification that signals repair lights up on the x-ray. That is yet another important reason why symptoms should dictate rehab progression, and playing through pain isn’t productive. Doing so only risks exacerbating injuries or resulting in compensatory breakdown. The false starts Jeter experienced in his recovery highlight this point; It appears he’s learned to listen to his 38 year-old-body.