Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols told MLB.com that there is a "95 percent chance" that he will never need the Tommy John elbow ligament surgery that was once thought to be an inevitability.
Pujols said following his surgery earlier this winter to clean up bone chips in his elbow that doctors told him his elbow ligament was 95 percent intact -- which means without further injury that it ought to be strong enough to last through the remainder of his career.
"I think we played it the right way," Pujols told MLB.com. "Both of the doctors have experience. Dr. (George) Paletta had the experience with Chris Carpenter, what he's done with his elbow. A year before, they had to [transpose my] ulnar nerve. He felt that, let's do that, and maybe the year after that we'll remove the bone spur. It was good news, it's 95 percent healed. It's good news, Dr. (James) Andrews telling me, 'Probably, you will never have to worry about the Tommy John.' That's good news. I feel great, and I can see the difference."
Pujols initially injured the elbow during his second season in the majors when he played in the outfield. Originally, it was believed it was a matter of when, not if, he would need the surgery. With a pitcher, Tommy John surgery usually puts the player out of commission for an entire year. A position player might be able to return sooner, but it still could easily keep him out for 6-9 months.