BOSTON -- Curt Schilling might not be able to make a second start in the World Series because the unprecedented surgical procedure to stitch together
his injured right ankle might be too damaging to keep repeating.
Team physician Bill Morgan told the Associated Press the team might have to pull the plug on the experiment after Schilling experienced significant
discomfort before his start Sunday in Game 2 of the World Series against St. Louis.
Schilling's start was not in jeopardy, but he might not be able to return for a sixth game, if necessary. Boston led the Cardinals 1-0 in the
best-of-7 series after Saturday night's 11-9 victory.
"Honestly, we may not be able to do it a third time," Morgan said. "It depends on what his tissues look like."
Schilling has a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle that will need surgery after the season. It forced him out of his first start of the AL
Championship Series against the Yankees after just three innings, but the procedure allowed him to pitch well in Game 6 against New York.
Curt Schilling's tendon might not withstand another of the surgical procedures. (AP)
Curt Schilling's tendon might not withstand another of the surgical procedures.(AP)
The technique involves suturing Schilling's tendon in place so it doesn't flop over his ankle when he pitches. He had the stitches put in on Monday
and removed after his start on Tuesday night.
The procedure was repeated Saturday to prepare him for Sunday night. But this time, the stitches caused Schilling much more pain; he has been treated
with painkillers and antibiotics to fight infection.
"He's more uncomfortable because it's the second time around," Morgan said. "The line may be drawn there, depending on how he looks over the next five
"And he'd respect that if I said, 'Curt, doing this is detrimental.' He'd say, 'All right, we can't do it.' Knowing him, he'd try to push through it
with taping again and all that sort of thing."
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Schilling's ankle was evaluated after his second ALCS start, when doctors determined they would be able to
try the procedure again.
"We're going to do the exact same thing after Game 2 of the World Series," Epstein said. "He's our Game 6 starter. ... There's been no change."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he thought the problem was solved by removing one of the four sutures.
"The last suture was irritating him a little bit, so they took it out," he said before the game. "Once it was removed, he went from being a little
concerned to wanting to see the lineup."
Schilling and the medical staff were out of options when Morgan came to him with the idea for the surgery, which had been tried only on a cadaver to
see if it could work.
"This is pushing the envelope with Curt, it really is," Morgan said. "But we're monitoring it closely to make sure he'll be OK for next year."
Schilling said Saturday it was irrelevant to him whether it had been done before, and he put his full trust in the medical team headed by Morgan.
"He's earned every bit of the accolades he's gotten over the last 10 days, because without him I would not be out here," Schilling said.
Morgan said he is not rushing to judgment about the long-term success of the procedure.
"Certainly the notoriety is helpful career-wise, but it can also kill you," Morgan said. "It can go the other way. If Curt ruptures his tendon or
something, all of a sudden it wasn't such a great idea."