New York Mets


With three significant players lost for the season due to back injuries, it’s now reasonable to raise questions about how the New York Mets’ training staff has handled conditioning.

As they say, another one bites the dust.

The Mets lost another key contributor to the remainder of the season in Neil Walker on Wednesday following a lingering bout with back problems — marking the club’s third significant back injury this year.

After Walker herniated a disk in his lower back, he decided to undergo season-ending surgery yesterday, as relayed by Terry Collins to reporters postgame.

In choosing surgery, Walker joins the company of ailing Mets David Wright and Lucas Duda, both whose seasons came to respective ends with their own back injuries.

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The collateral damage of the news is wholly disconcerting, as it dampened an otherwise victorious night for the Mets (New York defeated Miami 5-2) yesterday, positioning the team with an unsure infield alignment and ridding the lineup of one of its most productive hitters for the remainder of the season.

With the blowback entirely nearsighted, you can go so far as to say this straw will break the camel’s back and put to bed Mets’ playoff hopes altogether, it’s fair to ask the questions that most don’t want to ask.

That is, do any consistent contributors to back injuries suffered by Mets’ players, perhaps in unique team conditioning habits, exist?

Is there something different, or something missing, in the way the Mets’ training staff conditions — or, better said, fails to condition — its players?

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These questions are by no means an implication that team professionals don’t know how to do their jobs, but those professionals’ poor record on back injuries — three players almost certain to be instrumental in a potential run to the pennant shelved for the season — is to say that they have failed at their jobs.

Whether or not such failure, which is unquestionably indicated by the Mets’ disabled list, is the fault of the Mets’ training staff is an inappropriate assessment to make at this point.

This mere device of questioning is not an invocation of a philosophy which peddles an absence of coincidence in the world — because, yes, it is plausible that three Mets could go down with season-ending back injuries by coincidence — but it simply acts as a progressive step in the process of cutting down on future injuries of the same kind.

Whatever the cause may be, and however great the influence of poor conditioning, the effect of Walker’s impending surgery to the Met fan is deafening.

In so many ways, the news feels like a total invalidation of what the Mets have achieved offensively in the past ten days — even if, ironically, Walker was a part of none of it. It painfully serves to diminish the fact that the Mets have won nine of their last eleven games.

Because if there’s one way to kill a buzz, it’s to lose your 23 home run, 55 RBI man to the season.

Even worse, it’s to know that he’s been had by the same bug which took two other essential pieces.

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