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Penny’s Injury Is New to Jobe

Times Staff Writer

Dr. Frank Jobe is in his 41st year with the Dodgers. He has examined thousands of pitchers, by his own estimate.

Yet he has never before seen an injury like the one that has sidelined right-hander Brad Penny. So it’s understandable that Jobe can’t be certain of a return date for the pitcher, who is suffering from a nerve injury in the biceps on his pitching arm.

Penny, acquired from the Florida Marlins on July 30 in a six-player deal, came out in the first inning of his second start with Dodgers on Aug. 8 because of the injury, sat out six weeks, then returned Sept. 22 and lasted into the fourth inning before he was again forced out by the damaged nerve.

Jobe said it has been difficult to determine the severity of the injury because it takes several weeks before an accurate diagnosis can be made.

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“If the bruise is on the outside of the nerve, it could take three to four weeks to recover,” Jobe said. “If the bruise is on the inside, it could be a matter of months. But either way, he needs rest and must stretch out the arm with exercise.

“Not only have I never seen something like this, but it is so rare that there isn’t even any [research] literature on it.”

So how does Jobe think Penny suffered the injury?

“It might have been caused by stiffness in the elbow,” he said, “followed by a failure to stretch the muscle out enough.”

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Many teams that win division titles try to act as if they’ve been there before, even if they haven’t.

The fear is that, if players celebrate too long, they may still be patting themselves on the back when the playoffs begin, leaving their adrenaline tank empty.

Dodger Manager Jim Tracy has no such concerns.

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“If we clinch, we’ll have something to celebrate,” he said. “then we’ll look at the next step. Play another series and do it again. Play another and do it again. Play another and do it a third time.”


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