David Chao, MD: Bellinger’s Shoulder Injury Could Impact His World Series

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Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger hit a key late home run to give his team a 4-3 lead in Game 7 and propel the Dodgers into the World Series–only to injure his shoulder celebrating. 

Bellinger made an emphatic “Bash Bros” forearm/elbow greeting with teammate Enrique Hernandez. Bellinger’s shoulder was externally rotated and vulnerable and was caught off guard by the force from Hernandez.

Bellinger clearly pulled back with his right arm to avoid the second teammate and winced with his right arm hanging as he went into the dugout. Bellinger stayed in the game but while out in right field his was shown motioning and indicating how the shoulder popped out.

Bellinger has a history of two shoulder dislocations and other subluxation episodes and undoubtedly has a torn labrum from previous injury. In fact that injury forced his move from first base to the outfield as it affects his catch radius. He stayed in the game and made the final putout on a routine catch.

Bellinger should not miss time since it is not a completely new injury, but it could affect him in the World Series. He bats and throws left. Fortunately, he has a tight compact swing, but given that he has injured his lead arm, he may have to shorten his follow-through on the swing to keep the right shoulder from shifting again. The shoulder would also be at risk on any diving outfield plays or head-first slides.

Certainly it is embarrassing to injure oneself on a celebration, but at least he and the Dodgers will play in the World Series.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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  1. I hate this dumb celebration, and I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen. Hitting your elbows/forearms together as hard as you can isn’t a good idea in baseball. Seems like a lot could go wrong doing that. Also, isn’t it simulating a dunk…which has what exactly to do with BASEBALL? Dumb. This is now up there with the Kendra Morales jump stomp on home plate when broke his leg. General baseball rule: Don’t bang the most important baseball appendage on anything.

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