NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets will be without their captain for a while.
Hampered by a herniated disc in his neck, David Wright is heading to the disabled list and will miss a minimum of six to eight weeks, the team announced Friday.
During his time off, the veteran third baseman “will undergo appropriate physiotherapy to protect the area. After the rest period, David will resume baseball activity,” the team said in a statement.
As for who will man the hot corner in Wright’s absence, one option figures to be utility infielder Wilmer Flores. The Mets also recalled infielder Matt Reynolds, who will be in uniform for Friday’s game in Miami.
Wright has missed the last four games and on Wednesday was examined by doctors and given an injection that required 48 hours to take effect, manager Terry Collins said.
“Obviously, a herniated disk can be a serious thing. They can come back. We will have to wait,” Collins said Thursday. “They gave him some medication. They thought this was the next step to alleviate the discomfort, and told him it probably would be a couple days before they really find out if the shot’s going to work.”
Many players have come back from a herniated disc, most notably Peyton Manning, who returned after undergoing neck fusion surgery. Wright is opting for rehab which might not get him back to 100 percent.
If that happens, “he has to make the decision with his surgeon: Does he want to take the chance of having the neck fusion so that he can try to get himself up to 100 percent,” said Dr. Armin Tehrany of Manhattan Orthopedic Care, who has worked with physicians for the Jets, Rangers and Islanders.
The biggest challenge for Wright is being able to perform pain-free.
“It can be anywhere from six to 12 months before they’re ready to get back because they have to get their body mechanics together,” Tehrany told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
The 33-year-old Wright, who has homered in his last three games, was sidelined from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained a hamstring and then was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He has a long physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.
Wright is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats. Before Wednesday’s game, Collins was asked if he thinks Wright can still be a consistent contributor.
“We won’t know until we see how he comes out of the neck thing, but this guy’s been a special player in baseball,” Collins said. “Certainly being the captain and the face of this organization — you know, a manager’s worst nightmare is to see a star start to fade. And I think David’s got a lot of baseball left in him because of the way he prepares and the way he gets himself ready, but it’s hard to watch what he’s going through, to see as good as he was.
“I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of guys in this room that would not do what he does every day just to get ready to go play a baseball game. So he’s still special, he’s still a great player and we just hope that this neck thing goes away in a few days and he’s back in the lineup.”
Collins said as far as he’s aware, surgery has not been discussed. And he said it sounds as though the herniated disk is “just an unfortunate coincidence” that’s unrelated to Wright’s spinal stenosis.
Mets fans are hoping to see Wright back in uniform sooner rather than later.
“David’s a very resilient guy,” said Matt Dowd. “He’s bounced back from what was supposed to be a career-ending injury last year with his spine. So I really feel this won’t be the end for him.”
“Every Mets fan wants him back, but New Yorkers, as we are, we love you and we hate if you’re doing good or doing bad,” said John Ghianda.
“He’s a multimillion-dollar player,” said Sean Banks. “If you had a multimillion-dollar house and your boiler broke, would you just throw away your house? You’d repair it to the best of your ability.”
“He’s given 110 percent every time he’s been out on the field,” added Chris Viola. “He doesn’t shy away from criticism. He epitomizes what a New Yorker is.”
“The guy always gives 110 percent and doesn’t shy away from criticism and shy away from interviews,” added Chris Viola. “I think he epitomizes what a New Yorker is.”
The Mets do have an insurance clause on Wright, which would pay 75 percent of his contract. He still has four years left on his deal and every reason to return.