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Podiatry in Sports: Tigers’ James McCann (ankle sprain) on the DL

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain, the team announced Wednesday.

How long will James McCann be out of the lineup?

How long will James McCann be out of the lineup?

McCann suffered the injury on a play at first base during a 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park on Monday. The 25-year-old rolled his right ankle on the side of the bag trying to beat out a ground ball to first base with one out in the fifth inning before colliding with Pirates first baseman John Jaso.

“I initially thought he hit his head, with the way he was on the ground,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told “I thought he hit his head. But when we got out there, he immediately told Kevin Rand it was the ankle.

“There’s some concern. I don’t think we’re overly concerned it’s something long-term, but there’s a reasonable chance it could be a sprain of some grade.”

Ankle sprains are graded on a scale of 1–3 based on their severity:

Grade 1 (Mild): In mild cases, the ligaments are somewhat stretched, resulting in joint stiffness, muscle weakness or tightness with reduced balance and joint awareness.

Grade 2 (Moderate): In moderate cases, there is significant ligament stretching and sometimes partial tearing. It is far more painful than a mild sprain and can make it difficult to walk.

Grade 3 (Severe): In severe cases, the ligament can completely rupture. There is severe swelling, extensive bruising, and immense pain felt with a Grade 3 sprain. In most cases, a patient will need a screw inserted into their ankle to stabilize the area while it heals.

A Podiatrist’s Opinion

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has seen numerous ankle sprains throughout his tenure in medicine and can offer some insight into McCann’s situation based on the information currently available.

At this point, it’s more than likely that McCann suffered an injury to his anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). The ligaments on the outside of the ankle, particularly the ATFL, are the most important stabilisers of the ankle joint because of their ability to try and limit you to point your toes and rotate your foot inward.

Lateral ankle sprains such as McCann’s occur as a result of landing with your ankle in a position that your toes are pointed and your foot is turned in, which in turn overstretches the ATFL.

“That’s the most common ligament that is injured during ankle sprains,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who has offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, Fla. “They’re really not very thick bands of tissue, which makes them prone to injuries such as this. These types of injuries are usually acute, which means they happen very suddenly.”

As for treatment, Dr. Goldbaum insists that R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) will play a large role in McCann’s recovery. Additionally, ultrasound technology, injections, laser therapy and PRP could be used to expedite the recovery process.

In recent years, platlet-rich plasma (PRP) has been used far more frequently because of its effectiveness in the treatment of injuries such as ankle fractures and sprains. PRP is plasma that contains more platelets than what is typically found in blood. These platelets contain hundreds of proteins called growth factors, which are very important in the healing of injuries. This process has become especially popular in recent years with famous athletes like Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal using PRP to treat their injuries.

“We take the patients blood and we spin it,” Dr. Goldbaum said of the PRP process. “We take out the plasma part, which has all of the growth factors, so we can get it to heal faster. I’m not sure if they used that with (Flores), but that’s a big deal today.”

As for how long he’ll be out of the lineup, Dr. Goldbaum is optimistic that if McCann is suffering from a Grade 1 sprain, he won’t be out of the lineup too long after his 15-day stint on the DL comes to an end.

“He should heal pretty quickly,” he said.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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