Matt Harvey has partial UCL tear in elbow, surgery possible

Matt Harvey has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

DSC_0961It’s likely he will not pitch the rest of this season and surgery cannot be ruled out, Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday.

He will not be placed on the disabled list on Monday, though.

If Harvey does requires Tommy John surgery, he would likely miss all of the 2014 season.

According to Alderson, Harvey had swelling in his forearm, but he had not been experiencing pain in the elbow prior to his last start, just tightness. He has been getting preventative treatment on his elbow since Spring Training and, “He’s been treated for forearm issues for some time,” the GM explained. However, there was no indication of tenderness in the elbow until after his last start.

Harvey will have another MRI and exam once swelling goes down in his elbow.

Alderson said he does not believe this situation is the result of any one instance or decision.

“This is not good news, obviously,” Alderson said, noting that the team will know more over the next two weeks, during which they will better determine his treatment.

“There is plenty of time for us to see how he responds in the near term, but there will always be the open question of how long that ligament will hold up,” he said. “This is not a career-ending injury under any stretch of the imagination. We’re fortunate we have a lot of pitching depth in our organization.”

Harvey mentioned discomfort in his elbow after throwing 102 pitches in his start Saturday against the Tigers. He was sent to be examined by Dr. David Altchek, who ordered the MRI that revealed the partial tear.

“I’m going to do everything I can so I don’t have to get surgery,” Harvey said, pointing that he would prefer to stay out of the doctor’s office. “If the pain continues or gets worse, something will have to get done.”

“It was tough. Obviously, it was the last thing I was expecting when I went in this morning,” Harvey said. “It’s tough to kind of pinpoint the exact time. I didn’t feel a snap or a pop, no tingling or anything like that.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

This. Is. Awful. I guess Harvey can try to rehab and pitch without surgery, but, as Sandy alluded to, this will always be an issue, waiting to pop up in the background. It’ll be just one more thing to manage and fear. So, at his age, and given the success rate and way guys respond, I think it’s best go for surgery and look to return… I don’t know when. This sucks from a Mets, winning, contending, etc., point of view, but it also sucks from a watching-baseball point of view. I love watching Harvey pitch, no matter what the Mets record is.

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Will Carroll, Bleacher Report

Regarding Tommy John surgery, if it’s a tear up to about 33 percent, they’ll try to rehab it. Best comparison is Chad Billingsley. He tried to rehab his elbow, couldn’t, and had to have surgery. Takashi Saito, like Billingsley, also had platelet-rich plasma injections for a partial tear and he’s been good for a couple years. Dylan Bundy is a bad comparison, but you’ll see people throwing it out.

Michael Baron, Contributor

This is just mind blowing. It’s so deflating, and this leaves the franchise with a significant amount of uncertainty for the foreseeable future. If he does have surgery, I can’t imagine he will pitch again until 2015. That notion feels like a punch to the gut, not only because Harvey is awesome and a pleasure to watch pitch, but this will impact their plan and ability to win next season. If anything, this just goes to show that you cannot accumulate enough pitching, and it makes it even more difficult to part with such arms in an effort to bolster their offense during the upcoming off-season.