The KC Royals’ closer Greg Holland, who blew out his elbow earlier this season, has chosen to have Tommy John surgery on his elbow on Friday. His surgeon will be the orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Kerlan Jobe Orthopedists of Los Angeles. Dr. ElAttrache is well known to the sports world as having done both surgery and consulting with some of biggest names in athletics.
Holland, who has been experiencing elbow pain this season, struggled to get his fast ball into the upper 80s–down from his low to mid 90s. The result is an apparent injury to his ulnar collateral ligament which results in both pain and inability to be an effective pitcher. Holland was for the most part successful this year but he appeared to have more problems than usual in the late innings.
Ned Yost said a week ago that rest was not going to be the answer for Holland. Yost continued, “It’s [Holland’s elbow] getting a little more sore the last month or so and he continues to go out, pitch through it and he’s been successful for the most part.”
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So the answer is not going to be Holland as a closer. Despite that, the KC Royals know that they are going to the playoffs. Instead of Holland’s injury elbow, it is going to be the “almost perfect” arm of Wade Davis closing out games. However, the HDH formula end game scenario is going to have to be adjusted accordingly. So who will help the most with the setup stuff besides Kelvin Herrera? Stay tuned.
So whom did Holland and the Royals seek out to do the Tommy John surgery? Just two of his clients made a combined $48 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Given his fame as an orthopedic surgeon, it is Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Los Angles. Some of his clients are well known to those who follow sports.
An interview was done Wednesday afternoon with Dr. ElAttrache’s special assistant, Karen Mohr, who was knowledgeable about the operation and follow-up. She would not talk, for privacy reasons, about Greg Holland specifically. She said that generally the operation takes “1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.” This is a outpatient surgery and so a patient can leave typically “several hours” after the surgery.
The operation, as described in the article, usually involves attaching a tendon (to take the placement of the ulnar ligament) from either of Holland’s forearms. Occasionally a different tendon is needed. The most famous of Dr. Elletrache’s other clients is Kobe Bryant of the Lakers. When Bryant needed shoulder surgery in January of this year, it was Dr. ElAttrache who did the work. When Kobe, in an earlier injury, tore his Achilles tendon, it was off to Dr. Elattrache.
So apparently, it was Kobe who sought out Dr. Elletrache: “It was Kobe, asking if I could fit him in Saturday,” ElAttrache said. Another famous client is Zack Greinke, former Royal and now a star starter for the Dodgers. When Greinke broke his collarbone in a scuffle with San Diego’s Carlos Quentin, ElAttrache performed the surgery.
Other famous sports athletes have had surgery with Dr. ElAttrache. Atheletes such as Tom Brady, Manny Pacquiao and C.J. Wilson, among others, have sought him out for their own surgeries.
Greg Holland certainly appears to be in good hands with Dr. ElAttrache. Hopefully, the KC Royals closer will be healthy soon.