Jair Jurrjens is trying to stay positive as he attempts a comeback from a bone bruise in his right knee, but with a little more than two weeks left in the regular season, the odds are long and he knows it.
Jurrjens has been playing catch while wearing a specially-fitted knee brace for the past four days, and working on strengthening his right quadriceps muscle to take pressure off his knee. But he’s got no immediate timetable to start throwing off a mound, unlike Tommy Hanson who threw a bullpen session Sunday and plans another one Wednesday.
If all goes well, Hanson is headed to the instructional league to get in some rehab work against hitters to try to get in one start before the regular season ends. For Jurrjens, that window is narrowing. When asked about his chances to get back this season, he hung his head.
“I’m trying to stay positive and take it day by day and work on it,” Jurrjens said. “It’s something you need to check on reality too. Are you really going to be able to come and help this team out? Every athlete is going to say yes. I can say ‘Yes I will come and pitch again,’ but to be a guy who is going to help? I don’t know yet. That’s the thing I’m doubtful.”
Jurrjens received reinforcement of his original bone bruise diagnosis from knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman on Sept. 4. Jurrjens said he plans to return to Steadman once the season is over and see if there are any other treatment options.
Jurrjens said he could have received a PRP injection (a platelet-rich plasma) but that would have been risky because he wouldn’t be able to feel pain in his knee and know if and when to back down. At age 25, he’s worried about the long-term consequences as well.
That leaves him frustrated in the short-term though and facing the possibility that he might miss his second consecutive postseason because of his right knee.
“It’s frustrating and sometimes it’s really hard to be around the guys right now,” Jurrjens said. “But I just need to accept it and deal with it and try to make the best of it.”
Looking back, Jurrjens said he wished he’d taken more time off when he went on the disabled list in early August with inflammation. But he felt OK in the bullpen. In his first game back though, he said the pain immediately came back, and both his velocity and effectiveness suffered.