Matt Harvey will rehab… for now

Matt Harvey will try to rehabilitate the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

Harvey will embark on a throwing plan for six to eight weeks, and will see how his arm handles that, Sandy Alderson told reporters.

Matt Harvey 2 polaroid“I’ve never had pain in my actual elbow area, where the UCL is,” Harvey said. “For me, it felt like why jump into surgery in a situation where i never had tingling, numbness, shooting pain in my elbow? If rehab is the way to go… then that’s what I want to do.”

Harvey visited Dr. James Andrews on Monday for a second opinion on his arm.

“Nothing was moving in places it shouldn’t,” Harvey said of Dr. Andrews’ tests.

Alderson wouldn’t comment on the severity of the tear, with a tear of 30 percent or more almost always resulting in Tommy John surgery.

“The doctors have never attached a percentage to the tear,” Alderson said.

Tommy John surgery is still possible for Harvey if the rehab doesn’t work.

Previously, Will Carroll said that if Harvey does require surgery, he could wait until December. If he waits until then, the timeline wouldn’t be that much different if he had the surgery now, in relation to preparing for the 2015 season.

“No one should be surprised that Matt Harvey has chosen not to have Tommy John surgery. He’ll continue to rehab it and see where it goes. Got to take the shot to avoid surgery when you can,” Carroll said in a video post to Instagram.

“It won’t effect our plans as much as suggested,” Alderson said. “We have depth at starting pitching. I don’t see us working hard if he can’t come back.”

“Last three weeks have been tough,” Harvey said. “I want to be pitching. Not knowing it a tough process. Everything feels normal. I know there are some symptoms of forearm tightness, but I’ve never had elbow pain or sharp pain. We’ll see how it goes from there.”

Harvey will start his throwing program off flat ground in the next few days.

“One thing you shouldn’t expect…” Alderson warned. “Rigid deadlines.”

Sandy Alderson and Matt Harvey talk about the decision for Harvey to rehab his elbow for the next 6-8 weeks instead of getting surgery.

Michael Baron, Contributor

This is a good bet for Harvey to take. He may ultimately require or opt for surgery later, but waiting three months doesn’t impact his availability for either 2014 or 2015, assuming there are no setbacks from the procedure. There is still a risk involved with choosing rehab, however.

If he decides later to ultimately avoid the surgery, goes into camp in February and the condition worsens then or at any point after, not only will he be lost for 2014, but it will impact his status for 2015 as well. His elbow could be a ticking time bomb, and it will always be in the back of everyone’s mind with each pitch he throws…

Here’s the full release from the Mets:

On August 26th, Matt Harvey was examined by Mets physicians for soreness in his right forearm. An MRI done at that time revealed a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in the right elbow. Based on this MRI and a subsequent clinical examination, Mets physicians determined that a surgical repair would likely be necessary, unless Matt could complete a throwing program free of elbow related symptoms.

Yesterday, Matt was seen for a second opinion by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Florida. On review of the MRI, Dr. Andrews confirmed the diagnosis and after clinical examination recommended a throwing program to test the elbow before any final decision on surgery.

Accordingly, Matt will embark on a structured throwing program of up to 6-8 weeks that will extend into the offseason. During or following this throwing regimen, a final decision will be made on the near term need for surgery.