When initial X-rays came back negative on Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver's left elbow Sunday night, we still prepared for the possibility that he could miss a start. It turns out he will miss several.
Weaver's awkward landing on his left forearm when he fell while dodging a line drive did in fact result in a fracture. Weaver suffered a non-displaced fracture of the radial head. These fractures are often difficult to see on an X-ray, and it was not until Weaver underwent further imaging tests that the severity of the injury was discovered.
The radius is one of two bones in the forearm, running from the thumb side of the wrist up toward the elbow. The head of the radius is the flattened end that sits adjacent to the humerus. A fall onto the arm with the elbow somewhat flexed (which is what happened with Weaver) can jam the radius against the humerus, resulting in a fracture.
The fact it is non-displaced (meaning bony ends are in alignment) is a plus, as it will not require surgery to heal. Weaver is fortunate he did not dislocate the elbow or end up with a more complicated fracture, either of which could have resulted in a far more protracted absence.
Weaver was placed on the 15-day DL Tuesday, but the team has indicated he is expected to miss four to six weeks. It's possible, however, that if all goes well, he could return on the early side of that projection.
The primary goal for Weaver will be to restore the natural range of motion to the left arm. Early motion is the key to a successful recovery here. He will need to restore his natural pitching motion, and even though this is his non-throwing arm, it does more than dangle at his side. Any disruption to his standard throwing motion could result in compensations, which would then threaten the health of his right arm.
Additionally, he needs to be able to field defensive plays from the mound and not hesitate to use the left arm to protect himself, should that be necessary.