SAN FRANCISCO – When it comes to a tricky course of treatment with a star player, there is great comfort in consensus.
The Giants have reached a consensus when it comes to Madison Bumgarner’s sprained left shoulder, and mapped out a rehab schedule that should have the left-handed ace ready to return to the major league rotation shortly after the All-Star break.
Bumgarner was definitively diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder, which means that he partially tore ligaments. A Grade 2 sprain is another way of describing a separated shoulder.
Significant separations often require surgery to prevent recurrence due to shoulder instability. But after seeking out a range of opinions from the foremost orthopedic experts in the country, the Giants received diagnoses in harmony: Bumgarner’s shoulder will heal on its own.
“It’s nice when everybody agrees,” Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said. “We’ve put a plan in place to rehab him and get him back.”
Giants orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki consulted with 49ers orthopedist Dr. Timothy McAdams, who sees this type of injury more often with quarterbacks after they sustain high-impact trauma when hit or slammed to the turf. The Giants and Bumgarner also sought opinions from Dr. Neal El Attrache from the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles and Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla.
Bumgarner began rehab activities on Friday, though he is unable to do much at this time. Once he regains more range of motion, he can begin strengthening exercises.
“About three weeks out, we’ll see how he’s feeling,” Groeschner said. “We’ll see how much we can push or not push. Bum is a pretty conscientious person. We feel pretty good that when we ask him to do something, he’ll do it the right way and give us honest feedback, and we’ll adjust the program as needed.”
Although some peaks and valleys are expected, the hope is that Bumgarner can begin throwing near the end of June. Then he would graduate to throwing off a mound, build up his pitch count, throw live batting practice and make a series of minor league rehab starts.
It’s impossible to say how Bumgarner’s unique, three-quarters delivery would impact his recovery, or whether the injury will have any long-term consequences on his stuff or durability.
For now, Groeschner was pleased to have a consensus, and the confidence that Bumgarner has a plan plotted out to get back on the mound this season.
“We need him, that’s for sure,” Groeschner said. “We’re better when he’s out there.”