06/18/2002 11:29 pm ET
Jenkins coping with adversity
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Dean Taylor said the news on Geoff Jenkins a day after he suffered a gruesome ankle injury was "as good as could be expected," and did not rule out a return to action later this season.
But on several fronts the Brewers outfielder was far from happy.
Back at Miller Park wearing a heavy cast to protect extensive damage to ligaments near his right ankle, Jenkins faced the certainty of missing significant time for the second straight season with an injury.
"I'm just tired of injuries," Jenkins said quietly while choking back tears. "These aren't like ... These are the ones that just happen, they're freak injuries."
An MRI scan Tuesday confirmed significant ligament tears on the outside of Jenkins' ankle and partial tearing on the inside. But head trainer Roger Caplinger said there was no tendon damage, fractures or damage to any joint surfaces, and said Jenkins will likely avoid surgery.
He will wear a cast for two weeks and be re-examined by team doctors. If the ligaments have begun to "scar down," Caplinger said, Jenkins could be fitted with a boot instead of another cast. At that point the club will have a better idea whether Jenkins has any shot at coming back later this season.
"We're think that he's going to be just fine for Spring Training," manager Jerry Royster said. "If he was to come back before that, fine and dandy. We're not expecting him to, but he might."
That was little solace to Jenkins, whose tears turned to a rare flash of expletive-dotted anger when discussing the amount of time it took medical personnel to get him off the field in the second inning of Monday's 5-2 win over the Astros.
"A lot of questions. I've got a lot. I'm ... upset," Jenkins said. "You know what, let's take a step back. I don't know how long it takes, who's responsible, whatever. But I was on the field for a long time."
Brewers trainer Roger Caplinger reviewed videotape of the incident and said he raised his fist -- the sign to call for emergency medical services (EMS) -- 45 seconds after Jenkins went down.
Two minutes later emergency technicians arrived, and at the five minute and 45 second mark a converted golf cart arrived to take Jenkins off the field. Jenkins was loaded into the cart at seven minutes, and passed through the left field gate nine minutes after Caplinger's initial call.
Caplinger said he and club officials including Brewers vice president of stadium operations Scott Jenkins reviewed emergency medical procedures Tuesday and will work to improve the system in another meeting this week.
"You're always wanting it to go a lot faster than it is," Caplinger said.
Jenkins, whose family was watching the nationally televised game from California, said it seemed more like 15 or 20 minutes.
"It seemed like it was taking way too long to get me off that field," Jenkins said. "So I wasn't too happy about that."
Did Royster feel the same way?
"Yes," the Brewers skipper said. "As the manager, I don't know how much time it's supposed to take. That certainly seemed like a long time to me, but after 10 seconds I felt like it was a long time."
Jenkins suffered the injury lunging back to third base after Astros right fielder Richard Hidalgo slipped on Tyler Houston's second-inning single and called Monday "an ugly day."
"I looked at it right when I did it and I almost threw up," Jenkins said. "You don't think it's possible for your body to do that. I didn't look at it again."
Dr. William Raasch, the Brewers head physician, popped the ankle back into place at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
"That was just ... you might as well have just shot me with a nine millimeter," Jenkins said. "That was the worst pain I've ever felt and I can't really fathom something being worse."
Jenkins chatted with family members Monday night, and first baseman Richie Sexson was among the friends who visited him. Pirates catcher Jason Kendall, who works with the same agent as Jenkins' and suffered a similar injury trying to leg out a bunt in a game against the Brewers on July 4, 1999, left a voice message offering support.
"I came back 100 percent, Moises Alou came back 100 percent, Robin Ventura, guys who have done something similar," Kendall said. He learned about Jenkins' injury when his brother called, and saw the replay on TV.
"It brings back things that you don't want to think about and see," Kendall said "And I know what he's going through."
Kendall tore every ligament near his ankle and suffered a compound fracture in addition to the dislocated ankle. He said he was so drugged up for the first three or four days he didn't even remember a call from Mark McGwire.
But Jenkins was already back at the ballpark Tuesday, moving around on crutches and chatting with well-wishing teammates. Jenkins said he does not know if he will travel with the team in coming months or return to his home near Phoenix for rehabilitation.
"I just really wanted to be with the guys. I don't know, just kind of see them and hear their voices," Jenkins said. "It's just nice when you're frustrated with something like his to be around friends and your teammates."
He played in just 105 games last season, a campaign cut short by shoulder and hand injuries. Royster said he thought the shoulder problem might have hampered Jenkins early in 2002, but he was beginning to come around in recent weeks even as the Brewers continued to struggle.
Does he feel like he's being tested?
"Ugh. I'm done being tested," Jenkins said slowly, trying to maintain his composure. "You give your heart and soul to play hard. You know the injuries are part of the game, they're going to happen once in a while, but you just love doing what you do. It's just frustrating."
Royster admitted he's no doctor, and hoped for a speedy recovery for his star outfielder, who was playing in the second season of a four-year, $18 million contract he signed during 2001 Spring Training.
"I don't see how you can be the same. I don't see how anybody can," Royster said. "If you're asking me, personally, it appears to be devastating. But that's not a medical opinion, that's just personal.
"He was a big part of my plans to salvage this season."
Adam McCalvy covers the Brewers for MLB.com. Ed Eagle, who covers the Pirates for MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to approval by Major League baseball or its clubs.
"That was just ... you might as well have just shot me with a nine millimeter. That was the worst pain I've ever felt and I can't really fathom something being worse."
-- Geoff Jenkins