by Dan Cook, WCCO Radio

Dr. John Steubs talked with the media before Saturday’s game versus the Red Sox to clarify the diagnosis of starting pitcher Phil Hughes’ injury after being struck by a line drive on Thursday night.

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He diagnosed the injury as an “impaction fracture” of Hughes’ left femur.  There’s no displacement of the bone, so Hughes won’t have to wear any sort of cast.

“The only reason you’d immobilize it is for the swelling,” Stuebs said, “and we actually we want to get at, and get the swelling down.”

Fractures of a femur are rare as it’s one of the stronger and better-protected bones in the body.

“Most of the time these guys get hit it’s a glancing blow, and they get hit where there’s some muscle to protect it,” Stuebs said. “There’s no tissue right there [points to inside of his knee] if you feel that bone.  He just got smacked there and it was full-force.  The ball hit him square-on, didn’t deflect, it just, ‘boom.’  All the force of that ball coming back at him was dissipated into the bone.”

For the time being, rest and treatment for the swelling and inflammation are what’s being prescribed for Hughes.

“Right now he can toe-touch,” Stuebs said, “but he’s not comfortable yet putting weight on it.”

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As for the healing process, Hughes is expected to need a month or two just for the bone to heal before he could start to resume throwing.

“The crack — you know, when I say ‘fracture’ everybody thinks he’s got a displaced fracture,” Stuebs said, “but the little crack in that bone is probably going to take in the neighborhood of six weeks to heal.”

Given that the team was 24 games below .500 heading into Saturday’s game against Boston, and where they’re at on the calendar, it was fair to ask GM Terry Ryan whether Hughes would be in a position to pitch again this season.

For his part, Ryan seemed to think there was a better than average chance that Hughes would be back before the season ended.

“He’s going to be out for quite a length of time. We’ll still have season left,” Ryan said, “It’s what?  June 11 today? July… August… Everything would point certainly to him being able to be activated.  I don’t want to get too carried away on the severity of this thing because I don’t know it.  Let’s just say it’s two months. That still gives us time to get him going.”

“I would think that everything equal here, and he’s healthy and we get him to the point where he could compete up here,” Ryan said. “I wouldn’t want to rush anything and I certainly don’t want him not being able to be competitive.  If all that is in place, then yeah.”

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