Is the Reds' medical staff playing a role in ruining 2024 season?

We're seeing a pattern with the Reds medical staff misdiagnosing injuries

Cincinnati Reds v Texas Rangers
Cincinnati Reds v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

Earlier this week, we learned that both Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Brandon Williamson may be out longer than initially expected. Encarnacion-Strand reportedly has ligament damage in the hand he broke back in May, while Williamson is reported to have a lesion in his shoulder that could be a long-term issue.

Both of those injuries could require surgery to fix, and in both cases would likely spell the end of their seasons if they go under the knife. It's an unfortunate development for the Cincinnati Reds, who could use the help in both the rotation and the lineup.

In the short term, Reds GM Nick Krall will have to address these roster holes externally via the trade market if they want to compete down the stretch. There are a number of routes the Reds could take through the trade deadline this year but they could use a power bat and another rotation arm, for sure.

However, in the long term we might be looking at a more in-depth problem. This unfortunately isn't the first time that Reds fans have watched a player hit the IL for several weeks, only to find out there was either more damage, or more severe damage than initially expected.

Is the Reds' medical staff missing the mark with injury diagnosis?

Season ending surgeries happen, obviously. And players can have setbacks during the rehab process for a variety of reasons. However, these two injuries feel like they aren't negative developments but rather sustained issues that were missed during the initial diagnosis.

If the Reds' staff knew about Encarnacion-Strand's ligament damage four weeks ago, we have to assume that knowledge would have been made public and steps would have been taken to address the issue immediately. But they weren't.

It's possible that Williamson developed new damage in the shoulder during his rehab stint but there's also the possibility that the Reds either missed the lesion or deemed it a non-issue, only for it to completely derail Williamson's season shortly thereafter.

This isn't the first time the Reds' medical staff have misdiagnosed an injury

In 2023, starter Nick Lodolo was diagnosed with "left calf tendinosis" and was given a timetable to return. After his recovery failed to progress, Lodolo underwent an MRI that revealed he had sustained a stress reaction in his tibia. The Reds ended up placing him on the 60-day IL at that point and in total, Lodolo missed 144 days while on the IL.

Also in 2023, we saw infielder Jonathan India express frustration with how the Reds medical team handled his plantar fasciitis injury. India experienced discomfort after starting a rehab program on the Reds' timeline. A second opinion showed more extensive damage than was originally diagnosed by the Reds' medical staff and India was outspoken about his irritation with the team's doctors during the process.

With one mishap, you can write it off as a singular issue. But when you have a pattern of mistakes like we've seen with the Reds, it's hard to blame anyone who thinks there's a deeper organizational problem.

We'll see how Encarnacion-Strand's and Williamson's new developments play out but if both of them end up going down for the season, there's going to be some deeper discussion among the fanbase about whether this medical staff is capable of doing the job assigned to them.

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