Initial reports on Brandon Morrow‘s elbow cleanup were good and it seemed for a while as though he might be able to return ahead of schedule. But nothing is ever simple when you’re talking about a elbows, particularly when said elbow belongs to an oft-injured pitcher whose duties involve throwing the ball really hard in high-leverage situations.
So it didn’t come as much of a surprise when we found out last week that Morrow had been shut down after feeling some discomfort in the wake of a mound session. Jed Hoyer had spoken to 670 The Score about handling Morrow carefully even before the news broke and Theo Epstein shared recently that the closer might stay away from throwing for weeks yet.
The most recent update is a little more positive, though, as Morrow shared with ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that there are no structural issues with the elbow. The discomfort was just a matter of irritation around the surgical site, so now it’s just a matter of letting that subside before pushing further.
In order to aid his recovery, Morrow will receive a Synvisc injection in the elbow Monday, something Morrow says will lubricate and protect the joint. Without even looking it up, I’m going to guess that the brand name is a portmanteau of “synthetic” and “viscosity,” basically like motor oil for your joints.
Sure enough, here’s what the product’s official website has to say: “Synvisc-One® (hylan G-F 20) is an injection that supplements the fluid in your knee to help lubricate and cushion the joint, and can provide up to six months of osteoarthritis knee pain relief.”
Nothing about elbows in there, but you can see how the application would apply in Morrow’s case. It’d be nice if he got half of year of relief from it, since the Cubs are really just hoping to get half a year of relieve from Morrow at this point. There are plenty of fears, understandably so, that the closer has already thrown his last pitch for his current team.
“I don’t think so because it doesn’t seem like something that should shut me down for the whole year,” Morrow said when asked whether he feared he was done for the season. “I’m not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes or fog what’s going on. I felt really good all the way through my first live BP. I felt like I could have been in a major league game that day, easy.”
Morrow went on to say that he’s always come back better from injuries and that he believes this case will be no different. If that’s true, the Cubs will get a turbo boost from his return at some point. But that’s far from a given, so don’t go holding your breath on that just yet.