NEW YORK -- Somewhere on a slab in Boston is a citizen of
Red Sox Nation who actually gave his body to the cause.
With the team's future increasingly dependent on Curt Schilling's right leg, doctors decided to try an apparently unprecedented procedure to keep a tendon from slipping around in his ankle. But first, they wanted to test it out.
So they used a cadaver. No way to know if it was a Red Sox fan.
"We were going to try to do everything we could to try to
stabilize the tendon," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said
Wednesday night before Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. "We
were only going to do it as a last-ditch effort."
Schilling hurt the ankle near the end of the regular season and
tried to pitch with the injury for Game 1 of the series against the
New York Yankees. Unable to push off the mound with full force, he
allowed six runs in three innings -- his worst postseason
performance since 1993.
The Red Sox lost the game 10-7 and went on to fall behind 3-0 in
the best-of-seven series. They won the next two to stay alive in
the series, but they used every available pitcher in the process
and found themselves needing Schilling again.
The Red Sox training staff thought of various ways to keep the
tendon in place. Special high-top shoes didn't work, and they hit
upon the idea of sewing skin in Schilling's leg to the tissue
underneath, creating a wall that would keep the tendon in place.
"It seems extreme. We couldn't find a case of it ever being
done before," Epstein said. "It was the best way to allow him to
have his normal mechanics."
Schilling had three stitches put in at about 2 p.m. on Monday,
about 90 minutes before he tested his ankle on the bullpen mound in
"If it didn't work, he's in the same situation he was before,"
manager Terry Francona said. "We went out to the bullpen, he did
pretty well without it. ... Schill kind of bought off on it, and
they did it a day early to see if he could get used to it and let
him get comfortable with it. And it certainly seemed to do the
Although there was some fluid and blood leaking through
Schilling's sock on Tuesday night, Epstein could see after the
first pitch that Schilling was throwing like normal.
The sutures were taken out after the game to avoid infection; if
Schilling pitches again, they would be put back in. Epstein said
there was no problem repeating the procedure a couple of more
"We only have one more series," he said. "People think it's
reasonable to do it a couple more times."