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As if major-league baseball attendance could afford...


As if major-league baseball attendance could afford another blow, one of the sport's biggest draws is out for three months.

Seattle Mariners center fielder Ken Griffey, a 25-year-old All-Star, broke his left wrist Friday when he crashed into the wall making a spectacular leaping catch against the Orioles.

Dr. Bill Howard, 61, director of the sports medicine center at Union Memorial Hospital, talked about the severity of Griffey's injury with The Sun's Ohm Youngmisuk.

Q: Griffey, who throws and bats left-handed, broke the ulna and radius in his left wrist. How serious is the injury?

A: It is a significant injury. If it was a chip injury, they would have just casted him, but since they put in plates and screws, it's a significant injury. Apparently, if this is all he broke, he broke the two ends of the long bones of the forearm instead of one of the eight wrist bones or carpal bones. The eight little bones hook onto the bones Griffey broke in the forearm and go to the hand. One of them, the navicular bone, can often take a long time to heal.

Q: His time for full recovery is approximately three months. How accurate is that for such an injury?

A: I think that is pretty accurate. Wrist injuries can be very slow, but if you take the time to let it heal and get strong enough to play the sport, the time for rehab will take about three months. That three months is going to include time in physical therapy. He will do things to regain range and motion of the wrist and strength of the arm. Those are the things he'll lose in the next month or two.

Q: Will Griffey ever be able to throw and hit with the same power he had before his injury?

A: He'll be up to it or close to it. This is an injury that is threatening for anybody who depends on their arm. One of the more painful things he'll have to do is swing the bat and hit the baseball. Throwing the ball won't be as bad.

Q: As a baseball fan, do you think this injury could come at a worse time for the sport?

A: No. There could be one thing worse. It could have happened to Cal Ripken.

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