Red Sox Mike Napoli Reveals He Has Avascular Necrosis

The hip issue that held up Mike Napoli's contract and ultimately cost him millions of dollars is no longer a mystery.  Yesterday, Napoli revealed that he is suffering from avascular necrosis.  Coinciding with the announcement, Napoli and the Boston Red Sox finalized the reduced contract the two sides agreed on.  Rather than a three-year deal, Napoli signed a one-year contract.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says Napoli has never felt any symptoms from the condition in which he was diagnosed during a routine physical for the team, but the condition is serious.  It is serious enough for the Red Sox to question a long-term investment in Napoli.  Instead, the team gave him a one-year, $5 million deal with a chance to earn more in incentives.

Avascular Necrosis, says chiropractic sports physician Dr. Ray Solano, is a progressive, degenerative disorder that kills bone tissue.  It is caused by a lack of blood flow to a bone or a joint.

"Fortunately for Napoli, it was caught early and will be treated through medication, rest and exercise. Later stages can require surgery, such as depression at the core of the bone, reshaping the bone, a bone transplant or even total joint replacement. Untreated, the condition can progress to severe pain and irreversible disability in the course of just a few years."
Dr. Solano (not Napoli's treating physician), does not believe the issue will affect Napoli this season.  As far as his career going forward, no one will know until they seem him play and see how he progresses.  The condition is serious and is what ultimately ended Bo Jackson's playing career.  Of course, Jackson suffered a very serious injury beforehand that was probably not treated right.  Napoli appears to have gotten all the necessary medical care early on.

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