Angels hope Colorado specialist gives Kendrys Morales ‘fresh perspective’ on return from broken ankle
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Kendrys Morales said the idea to visit a Colorado specialist for a second opinion on his slower-than-expected rehabilitation from a broken left ankle originated with his family and his representatives.
“We talked to the manager about getting a second opinion, which is always good to have,” the first baseman said through a translator. “This is just so I can take the last step and feel comfortable going forward. We’re going to the specialist because he knows best.”
Morales, who has not played since breaking the ankle when he jumped onto home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run last May 29, has been under the care of Dr. Phil Kwong, a foot-and-ankle specialist, and Dr. Lewis Yocum, team physician.
His recovery has stalled to the point where he was shut down completely last week and took a cortisone injection — his second in three months — to ease the inflammation and discomfort. He still has not taken turns on the bases or run straight ahead at full speed.
“He gets relief [from the injection], but if we push him too hard the ankle gets reactive,” Yocum said. “We have to find that magic formula so we’re not pushing him so hard the ankle is flaring up.”
Morales will travel to Vail for a Tuesday appointment with Dr. Thomas O. Clanton, an orthopedic surgeon and director of foot-and-ankle sports medicine at the Steadman Clinic.
Clanton has treated numerous professional athletes, including Yao Ming and Eddie George, and has served as team physician for the NBA’s Houston Rockets and NFL’s Houston Texans.
“I don’t think he’s going to gain any revolutionary information, but is there something we’re missing, a different approach that can help him?” Yocum said. “The purpose of a second opinion is to get as much insight as possible, to get a fresh perspective.”
Yocum deemed the surgery last June to repair the ankle a success but said it’s possible Morales may need another procedure to clean out scar tissue.
“What we’re seeing are the problems associated with an injury of this magnitude, the stiffness and soreness,” Yocum said. “We would have hoped he’d be doing more, but is it surprising? No. Is it disappointing? Absolutely. And it’s very frustrating for Kendrys.”
Yocum wouldn’t even give a ballpark estimate on when he thought Morales, who hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 runs batted in in 2009, would return.
“He’ll be ready when he’s ready,” Yocum said. “We want him back when it’s healthy and safe to be back. There’s no sense in getting half a Kendrys back.”
-- Mike DiGiovanna