Miller Sidelined Again After Surgery

Adam Miller

Adam Miller and the Indians hope they can credit Dr. Tom Graham with a save. Graham performed the first stage of a revolutionary reconstruction surgery on Miller's right middle finger on Tuesday. The procedure at the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore is likely to either save or end Miller's promising career. Miller's season is definitely over -- once again.

Graham repaired the flexor pulley system in Miller's long finger on in a 2½-hour procedure.

The second stage is scheduled to be performed in approximately three months. At that time the flexor tendon will be reconstructed.

Recovery is expected to take six to nine months. Miller will rehab at the Indians' training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

"I feel bad for the kid," manager Eric Wedge said. "Adam's a good kid and he's worked hard. He's had so many setbacks. Hopefully this will be the last one and he's able to come back."

Miller, the 31st overall pick in the 2003 draft has pitched well -- when healthy -- in the minors over the past six seasons. But he seldom made it through an entire year without some sort of ailment.

This spring, the right-hander did not make an appearance in an official exhibition game after telling team officials that he could not bend the tip of his right middle finger. His 2008 season was limited to 6 starts and 28 2/3 innings and ended after May 27th surgery on the same finger.

The procedure on Tuesday is an innovative move, that if successful, could become as valuable to pitchers as the elbow ligament replacement surgery Tommy John had done in 1974. That revolutionary operation has become commonplace among athletes.

Lonnie Soloff, the Indians' head athletic trainer, said there is no guarantee Miller will regain his form. Soloff said Miller may never regain the lost range of motion in the finger and even if he does, there is the risk that scar tissue from the surgery will prohibit him from gripping a baseball properly.

"Because the space is so limited, with a procedure of this caliber, there is a high incidence of secondary surgery to limit or remove scar tissue which would impede recovery of both range of motion and strength," Soloff said last week. "There's no way of knowing when that would take place. It's just a complicating factor of the injury, of the surgery and of the subsequent rehab."

2008 & MINOR-LEAGUE CAREER

Team

W

L

ERA

G

IP

H

BB

SO

Buffalo

0

1

1.88

6

28.7

26

12

20

Minor Totals

25

21

3.55

85

398.7

378

121

369

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