Reimold to have season-ending surgery on neck
Orioles outfielder to undergo procedure Monday on herniated disk
BALTIMORE -- Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck on Monday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a procedure that will be performed by neurosurgeon Dr. Ziya Gokaslan and is expected to end the 28-year-old's season.
Reimold announced the decision prior to Friday's game and said he went back and forth a few times on his decision, but ultimately the consensus of multiple doctors -- whom he had visited in Baltimore this week -- won out.
"The best thing to do as far as my career was definitely to get the surgery," said Reimold, who last played April 30 and was dealing with what was originally diagnosed as neck spasms in the weeks prior to that. "[It will] get the pressure off the nerve that's getting pushed on."
Reimold said his procedure is the same one NFL quarterback Peyton Manning had, and he will have the herniated disk removed and two vertebrae will be fused together, which should make the area stronger than it had been even when he was healthy.
"He's obviously responded well to it," Reimold said of Manning, who is expected to be the Denver Broncos starting quarterback this season. "A lot of times the symptoms respond immediately, and other times it takes a little bit of a while for the strength to come back."
Asked if he has accepted the fact that he would not play again this year, Reimold said: "I'm resigned to the fact that I'm going to do the surgery and do my rehab until I'm ready to play at this level. Which, whether it takes eight weeks or longer, that's what I'm going to do."
The news, while not unexpected given Reimold's flurry of doctors visits earlier this week, is still a significant blow to an Orioles club that had anticipated him manning left field in 2012. Reimold, who started on Opening Day, hit .313, with five homers and 10 RBIs, posting a .627 slugging percentage in 67 at-bats before hitting the disabled list.
While on the DL, he had two epidurals to try to ease the pain, but he was still bothered by numbness and tingling on his left side despite a second, more recent, MRI showing Reimold's herniated disk had made some improvements. Monday's fusion surgery is fairly common among spine surgeries, and while Reimold was optimistic about his career going forward, he was understandably upset about the immediate future.
"It's disappointing," he said of having to resort to surgery. "I wanted to [contribute], not just individually, but collectively, too, because the team has been playing well. We are in the division up there towards the top. So, to not be a part of it, just to watch it is kind of tough.
"But I'm still rooting for the guys and puling for them. Just from that perspective it's tough. But I'll be back. And everything should go well, and I'll do everything I can to be back as soon as I can. And hopefully be stronger."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.