Ross Detwiler returned from his second cross-country flight in two days and ambled around the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse on Thursday afternoon. The news on his back wasn’t great — a herniated disk is pinching a nerve and causing his spasms — but it wasn’t bad, either.
“I look at it as getting good news,” Detwiler said. “I don’t have to get cut on, I can just rest it, and I still have a chance at the season toward the end.”
Detwiler visited with Dr. Robert Watkins on Wednesday, a renowned back surgeon who’s operated on New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Watkins discussed the issue with Detwiler and informed him he did not need to have a surgical procedure.
Detwiler also said he “has seen no needles,” when asked if he received some kind of injection.
“They say he’s the best back guy in the world, so that’s why I went out there,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect and he kind of talked me through it. I don’t have to have surgery so that’s the number one thing right now.”
Detwiler has been told to rest. But he’s also allowed to do some core strengthening activities and, he hopes, he’ll be able to begin a shoulder program in the weight room so that he can keep his arm strength up somewhat.
He also felt better to finally know what the issue was.
Detwiler has been dealing with back issues since mid-May. His first eight starts of the season were superb and Detwiler worked to a 2.76 ERA. But his back seized up in Los Angeles on May 15, and in his five starts between disabled list stints he worked to a 6.31 ERA.
“We really didn’t know what was going on at first,” Detwiler said. Adding that he thinks there’s “a very good chance,” that both back issues are related to the herniated disc.
“All I have to kind of live on now is my last few starts, and they haven’t been good. I just felt like there was something off and I was trying to fight through it, which could’ve made it worse. So, it’s something I kind of have to sit back and say ‘If this ever happens again, you just can’t try to fight through something like that.’ I think we took the right step the other day.”