The struggling New York Mets’ offense took another big hit on Saturday with the revelation that star third baseman David Wright‘s lingering back soreness is a result of spinal stenosis.
Wright, who has been on the disabled list since April 15th with a strained hamstring, appeared to be making solid progress toward a return to the big league club over the last week. However, that progress was hampered for the second straight time by lingering soreness that has failed to dissipate.
After undergoing multiple tests, one of which focused on the possible recurrence of the stress fracture that sidelined him for two months in 2011, the Mets received the far more troublesome diagnosis.
Spinal stenosis is described by the Unites States National Library of Medicine as, “a narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column.”
Simply put, the areas of the spinal cord where nerves enter and leave Wright’s spinal column have narrowed over time and have now reached a point where they are applying consistent pressure upon those nerves, resulting his is lingering back pain.
Listed among the various causes are arthritis, degenerative bone disease, and most importantly fracture to the spinal bone, a point which brings his 2011 injury back into focus.
Although, degenerative back issues are not entirely uncommon for professional athletes, what makes Wright’s case so interesting is his relative youth at just 32.
The Mets are hopeful that continued physical therapy will help to mitigate the pain and allow Wright to return to the team on an adjusted time table. A worst case scenario would call for surgery to relieve pressure in the area and might be a sign that his career has reached it final days.
Fans in New York might recall that a similar diagnosis brought an end to the career of Lenny Dykstra at a very similar career mark in 1996, as well Giants running back David Wilson in 2014.
In Wright’s absence the Mets will continue to rely on backup Eric Campbell, who is in the midst of a career worst slump that has pulled his average down to .188 in 24 games with the Mets.