For David Wright, Health is More Important than Baseball

By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor

David Wright, in uniform and unshaved, had a look of concern outside the  New York Mets clubhouse area late Friday afternoon. The Mets captain spent some time with his teammates before addressing the media prior to the Mets taking on the Chicago Cubs.

“I love the game of baseball,” Wright said, when asked if he would be able to return this season.  Recovery from a damaged disk and the surgical removal of fragments that were putting pressure on his spinal cord may take longer than expected.

It is obvious that Wright is still in pain. And then there is the pain of realizing his season may be over–and, perhaps, that his career may be at an end.

Though it has not come to that point, and Wright would not say so, there is no reason to speculate because what matters most is that David Wright has the ability to cope beyond baseball.

He was on the bench and in the clubhouse after the Mets hit five home runs and defeated the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, for a second consecutive night, 10-2.

The surgery was a fusion process and went through Wright’s throat. He is in pain and the recovery process will take time.  He spoke about the pain, his emotions and the outside possibility of a career ending.

Although the Mets are like family, Wright understands that the search for a replacement at third base is not a surprise. He realizes that his absence from the lineup has had an impact on an offense that is struggling.

“I’m going to be out for an extended period of time,” he said. The words were sincere and he held back the emotions of realizing the painful process of trying to get back on the field has just begun.

Wright added: “But I plan on coming back and being the player that I feel like I’m capable of being. We shall see.”

So where do the Mets go from here as the inevitable approaches?  Wright, who has battled health issues the past two years and has been the face of the organization, may not be a part of what is expected to be another September stretch run to the postseason for the Mets.
Truth of the matter is David Wright, the Mets, and their fans will have to wait and see how this transpires.  The importance of getting back to health is obviously a priority over baseball, and that is not difficult to comprehend, though diehard fantasy players are screaming about the disappointment of not having one of their picks on the field.

He said, “The most important thing for me now is my health and and trying to get my neck healed.” He has another appointment in three months with the doctors to determine where the future holds for this season, and by all standards it would appear that with no physical activity between now and then, the season for David Wright is over.

Again, what is more important is that Wright have normalcy. That, he can function without baseball if indeed the ending of a career is almost here. There is no timetable as of yet, or any type of discussion about the career coming to an end. These medical situations with the back and spine require time to recover.

A recovery now for David Wright, one that gave him some peace Friday at Citi Field. For the moment he was with his teammates and in the spotlight. But he would rather be the center of attention for the next 83 games on the Mets schedule.

“I love the game of baseball,” Wright said. “I can’t wait to get back out there but the most important thing for me now is my health and trying to get my neck healed. Because if I go and do something that I’m not supposed to do, we’re not talking about baseball.”

It is, as Wright said “talking about something that’s going to affect me later in life.”  And to  put this all in perspective, baseball may be a game but it is not played for a lifetime. The Mets will continue to play, with or without David Wright, and he is aware about contingency plans to fill  his void at the position are in discussion.

And that includes the return of an old friend, Jose Reyes, who will get some playing time at third base. The reunion at Citi Field for Reyes is expected in a matter of days after he completes the comeback process at Double-A Binghamton.

“They’ve got to do what it takes to get this team better and back in the playoffs.” he said. Exactly, because this is about the team and not about the ballplayer we know as David Wright.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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