|Praying for the Big Fella|
"I don't know what to think, honestly," Rollins says. "If you ask me, with this infection, I don't know if he's going to play this year, because after all the work that he's done, now he's got to hit the reset button."
|Get Well Soon, Rhyno|
Like most of us, Rollins didn't graduate from medical school during the offseason. But he's had enough leg issues of his own lately to believe he has a good feel for how Howard's issues will affect him over the months to come.
"I mean, the leg is naturally going to atrophy if it's in a boot all this time and you're not getting the full use out of it," Rollins says. "So he's built up strength, but it's not like he was 100 percent [before]. Now he needs to take a step back, and he's probably back down to the 25 to 40 percent range. …
"And it's a tough injury," Rollins goes on. "It's not like he's 150 pounds. He's a big man. And that's a very important part of his game, being able to be on his legs. He doesn't use his legs for speed like me. He uses his legs for power. So if he doesn't have any [strength in his] legs, all that power just goes away."
We should note that the Phillies disagree with this take and continue to put as happy a face on Howard's prognosis as possible. Amaro even says a return sometime in May is "still possible." But Dr. Rollins isn't so sure.
"Oh, he's definitely out for two months. I can pretty much guarantee you that," Rollins says. "And probably nothing before the All-Star break, unless it's like Albert Pujols' fracture [which magically healed itself in two weeks last summer]."
Somewhere out there beyond the horizon, Rollins predicts, Howard will be OK. But he still thinks his buddy faces a longer haul than almost anyone has suggested.
"You can come back from this injury," Rollins says. "There's no doubt. But I don't think you come back at the rate and have the success and the strength in your leg and the confidence that it won't happen again.
"Over the long term, [he'll] … be fine," Rollins says. "But that's where 'long term' is meaning, like, a year and a half. That's when he'll do something and he'll say, 'You know what? That didn't bother me.' And that's when you know you're fine, and you can go out there every single day and not have to worry about it."
JAG's Comment: Players know these things, and JRoll has always been a candid and reliable source of information. This is just very bad news. No wonder the Phils are currently looking for infield help....