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Brian Wilson Injury: Elbow Has 'Structural Issues,' May Require Surgery

Brian Wilson appeared to injure his elbow on Thursday against the Rockies. Now the Giants closer may be facing surgery.

April 12, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.  The Giants won 4-2.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
April 12, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Giants won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Late in the 2011 season, San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson began having elbow and back problems. Those problems seemed to persist early in Spring Training this year, but both Wilson and the Giants insisted that he was on track and doing fine.

On Thursday, Wilson made his second appearance of the year, in his first save opportunity. Early in his Thursday outing against the Colorado Rockies, Wilson appeared to come up hurt after a pitch, prompting catcher Buster Posey and head trainer Dave Groeschner to immediately visit the mound. Wilson threw a practice pitch and insisted he was fine, but struggled mightily, looking visibly hurt and instantly losing about five miles per hour off each of his pitches. Wilson loaded the bases and allowed a run, throwing over 30 pitches as Groeschner paced nervously in the dugout. But he picked up the save in the 4-2 Giants victory.

After the game, Wilson and the Giants again insisted he was fine, Wilson claiming that he tweaked his ankle on delivery. It now appears as though the ankle story may have been just that -- a story. Carl Steward of the Mercury News reports:

"Structural issues" would appear to indicate issues with tendons, ligaments, or cartilage. Surgery for a "structural issue" would likely mean a long recovery process. The injury seemed serious at the time, although Wilson did his best to play it off.

Amy Gutierrez reports that manager Bruce Bochy stated the team will go to "closer by committee." The Giants may turn to prospect Heath Hembree to help with that role if Wilson goes on the DL, or perhaps lean heavily on Santiago Casilla in that role, as they did last season when Wilson was injured.

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