I spent some time talking with an orthopedic surgeon and came out of feeling a little less confident about the chances of a full recovery for Jarrod Parker when he undergoes Tommy John surgery next week.
At first it seemed to me that the chances for Parker to come back as good as new after what would be his second Tommy John surgery were a little more than 50-50.
But after my conversation with the surgeon, who has worked on pro, college and recreational athletes for years and who asked not to be named, it seems that maybe the chances are a little less than 50-50.
The A’s are hitting the reset button with their starting rotation with the news that probable opening day starter Jarrod Parker will undergo Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and miss the entire 2014 season.
It’s the second time since 2009 that Parker will have Dr. James Andrews perform the surgery. There is a relatively small sample size to determine the success rate of pitchers who have had multiple Tommy John operations, but it’s becoming more and more frequent.
“Unfortunately, there is more data on this than there was four years ago,’’ Oakland assistant general manager David Forst said. “In the last week (the subject) has come up a number of times. It’s hard to predict right now. You don’t know the recovery rate on guys with a second Tommy John. It’s unfortunate that it’s more frequent.’’
According to some medical estimates, the success for the surgery is 90 percent; after a second surgery the number drops to 60 percent.
Former A’s reliever Jason Isringhausen had the surgery three times and came back to pitch each time.
Talking about the multiple surgeries with the Washington Post in 2012, Isringhausen laid out the path ahead of Parker.
“You really have to follow the protocol and do what is asked of you by the doctors and therapists so you don’t re-injure the graft in your elbow,’’ Isringhausen said. “I think that’s the main thing: patience. Because you feel really good really quick, and you want to throw, and then all you can do when you do that is tear it up again.’’