In Sunday’s win against Maryland, pitcher Doug Norman fell over in pain after making a pitch. He was instantly removed from the game and taken in for further evaluation. By Sunday evening, there was no word on the state of Norman’s injury.
On Monday, a diagnosis following an MRI was reached: Norman tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm and will receive Tommy John surgery.
For a pitcher, Tommy John surgery takes over a year to recover from as not just the UCL is replaced, but is usually replaced using a tendon from the same forearm. While a UCL tear does NOT mean that the pitcher was throwing too many complex pitches and does not directly mean that the pitcher was throwing too many pitches, it is a wear injury. Not every pitcher needs to have it, but when they do they just hit that magic number for them with not even rest or time off. This is not an injury that can be pinned on Alan Dunn or Paul Mainieri.
But this is a big loss for LSU, as Norman was one of the more experienced members of the LSU bullpen as a junior and shaping up to become a key cog in the final innings of a close game for LSU. And what’s worse is that it continues a trend of LSU pitchers requiring Tommy John. Jesse Stallings, Alden Cartwright, Nick Bush, and now Doug Norman all had or will have the surgery between 2014 and now, with the last three occurring in the past year.
James Moran and Tiger Rag are reporting that Norman will be eligible to receive a medical redshirt for this current season, which would be a silver lining in this negative cloud for LSU.