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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Breaking down Andrew McCutchen's rib avulsion

By on 8/21/2014 10:15:00 PM

Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen recently returned from a stint on the disabled list after suffering an avulsion fra​cture of his 11th rib. Believing that the initial injury was related to the oblique muscle, the Pirates hoped that McCutchen would avoid the DL. After all, the center fielder was putting up MVP type numbers yet again with a slash line of .311/.411/.536, 17 home runs, 67 RBI, and a league leading OPS+ of 168.

McCutchen injury

The two main components to this injury are the location and type of fracture to the rib. The rib cage is comprised of 24 ribs, or 12 pairs. Ribs one through seven are known as the "true ribs" because they are directly connected to the sternum. The five remaining pairs are known as the "false ribs" because they are connected to the sternum indirectly.

Of these final five rib pairs, the 11th and 12th ribs are known as the "floating ribs" because they do not attach to the sternum, but rather to the vertebrae. Shown be​low, the "floating ribs" are in blue, with the "false ribs" in green and the "true ribs" in red.

The second component of McCutchen's injury is the fact that it is an avulsion fracture. An avulsion fracture, simply put, is when a fragment or piece of the bone mass is torn away by some sort of trauma. In McCutchen's case, the impact from the pitch that hit him when the Pirates played the Diamondbacks a few weeks back.

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