Derek Jeter addresses the media for first time since re-injuring his left ankleYankees Captain says he'll return to action 'as soon as I physically can'
Those are the words of New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter, who spoke to the media on Thursday, exactly one week after general manager Brian Cashman announced that Jeter will be out at least through the All-Star break due to a new fracture in his left ankle.
The fracture is definitely a new injury, Jeter said, as it's on the same bone he broke last October but in a new spot. And, while he's not exactly sure how or when the injury happened, The Captain said he knew something was wrong beyond normal aches and pains of recovery.
"When we took the CT scans before Spring Training, the bone had healed. I'm not one to complain about being sore, I just go out there and play - which I did, but it never went away. I wasn't able to run or do what I wanted to do, so I had it checked out again and that's when we found out it was fractured," Jeter said. "I know my body, I knew something was wrong. I don't like talking about injuries, but I knew it was something more than tendinitis or stiffness, there was something making me unable to play."
Asked whether there was any concern whether the bones around the ankle had become weakened because of the previous injury, Jeter said the doctors did not say anything about that, only citing that bone injuries in that area can be slow to heal.
"It's a tough area because not a lot of blood flow goes to that area, so we're doing some things to try to stimulate bone growth, but it's tough. All you can really do is wait," Jeter said. "I wish I could accelerate it, but there's no way to do it. It happens, it takes time, and some things take more time than others, but I'm doing everything I can to make sure this heals quickly."
Jeter also said that he didn't think the injury came about as a result of pushing himself too hard and trying to meet his Opening Day timeline, citing that he was 100 percent medically cleared before he stepped out onto the field in March.
"When I took the two CT scans, both said the bone has healed and I could move forward. I wish I could explain what happened, but I don't think I pushed it too hard," Jeter said. "I don't [regret the Opening Day timeline], because my job is to be ready for Opening Day, and unfortunately I wasn't. I think you have to set goals and try to reach them. I'm never one to just sit back and have a lot of patience when it comes to something being wrong. I regret that the bone didn't heal, but not setting that date."
Jeter wouldn't set a definite date for his return from this injury, only saying he'll be back as soon as possible. Although he wasn't wearing it as he walked in - joking that it takes time to put on and he wanted to hurry up - the Captain will be in a walking boot for the time being, something he said he "doesn't want to do, but I follow directions," and knows the next step is simply waiting until he heals.
"The doctors and the CT scan [are the next hurdles]; I can fake my way around people, but you can't really fake out a CT scan," Jeter said. "Whenever that shows the bone is healed, then we'll move on."
He'll remain with the team throughout the current homestand at least, easing what he said has been the most painful thing about the injury: being away from the Yankees.
"It's tough to not be around the team. I've had minor injuries and I've been pretty fortunate to only have one major injury beside this one, so I've always been around the team," Jeter said. "One of the biggest things that bothers me the most is not being part of the team. I keep in touch with the guys, but I'm not around, and it's something I'm not familiar with."
Jeter was in a similar situation when he suffered a shoulder injury on Opening Day 2003, and said it was an "odd" time.
"When I dislocated my shoulder [in 2003] and I missed six weeks, that was odd for me because I'm used to being out there," Jeter said. "I don't like watching games, I like to be out there and with the team. Earlier on I wasn't able to be with the team because I was working on trying to get back, and then this happened. … It's been a difficult process, and it's been frustrating."
But, Jeter did say his teammates have sent him well wishes, and he's glad to be back with them if only for the next 10 days or so. He had one simple parting message for the Yankees fans who will have to wait another few months at least for their fix of the Captain:
"I'll be back soon."
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES