Outlook on Davis injury still uncertain Team has no firm timetable for first baseman's return

May 17, 1991|By Peter Schmuck and Kent Baker

The Baltimore Orioles have examined all of the medical evidence, but the prognosis for injured first baseman Glenn Davis remains unclear.

Davis will not have surgery to correct damage to the spinal accessory nerve that controls the major muscle in his right shoulder. That much was known. But he apparently is not close to returning the Orioles lineup, either.

Orioles orthopedist Dr. Charles Silberstein has been compiling the data that was gathered during exhaustive examinations in New York, Cleveland and Los Angeles. He summarized his findings in a lengthy meeting with club president Larry Lucchino, general manager Roland Hemond, manager Frank Robinson and Glenn and Teresa Davis.

No specific timetable has been released, but Davis will continue on his existing rehabilitation for at least the next three weeks.

"The one thing they can't do is predict when [he'll return]," Robinson said. "They're going to take it in two- or three-week intervals. Glenn will be evaluated after three weeks and go from there."

No one even wants to guess when Davis will return. Silberstein originally was hopeful that he would be taking batting practice by now. He said as much at a news briefing two weeks ago. But it now appears that it could be midseason before the injured first baseman picks up a bat again.

"I'm frustrated because I'm idle," Davis said. "I have no timetable, because this is as new to me as it is to everybody else. When you've been in sports all your life and get injured, you pretty much gauge how it feels every day. This is something totally different. I don't have a gauge or barometer to measure my progress."

The club apparently feels that Davis got a little ahead of himself when he took some ground balls during pregame warm-ups last weekend in Seattle. He has been ordered to avoid any baseball-related activity that might even tempt him to throw the ball.

"He's been told that throwing the ball is the worst thing he can do," Robinson said. "He was taking ground balls in Seattle and he was throwing the ball. I saw him. He's not going to do that anymore."

Davis will be restricted to specific exercises that isolate the shoulder muscles that need to be strengthened. Throwing while the muscle strength is out of balance could risk injury to the rotator cuff.

"It doesn't help to get on the field," Davis said. "The adrenalin starts flowing a little and you want to play. That comes with the territory. The two [injury and activity] are in conflict right now. Part of the meeting was to remind me that I need to cool down and take it easy."

The injury dates to the first week of spring training, when Davis felt a twinge in his neck during an exhibition at-bat in Sarasota, Fla. The club originally thought he had suffered a muscle spasm, but sent him to a specialist on nerve injuries when he began to lose strength in his shoulder.

Some of that strength has returned, though he apparently is far from 100 percent.

"I know it has gotten better because I can do more things than I used to," he said, "but at some point you ask yourself when it is going to heal.

"My legs feel great. My whole body feels great. It's hard for me to accept that I'm not working right now. You want to do something, to be part of the team, move around. It's not easy.

"The hard part is realizing that these things take time."

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