Joba Chamberlain— two days after his ugly, life-threatening trampoline injury— told New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman he expects to be back on the mound by July.
The reliever— who suffered a gruesome injury to his right ankle during a freak accident while bouncing on a trampoline Thursday—was told that the open dislocation could end his career, but sounds positive about returning in 2012.
"He was saying he could be back on the mound by July, that's what the doctors are telling him," said Cashman, who visited Chamberlain at the hospital on Friday. "That's the optimistic side."
Cashman, who was visibly shaken while addressing the media after the accident, cautioned that there was no guarantee that he will ever pitch again.
"As any orthopedic will tell you, you have to go through the whole process," he said.
The injury— which he suffered while jumping on a trampoline with his 5-year-old son Karter— was bleeding so severely, that eyewitnesses feared for his life before paramedics arrived at the recreation center.
His son watched in horror as blood poured from a gash where Chamberlain's broken bone tore through his skin.
The injured ankle runs the risk of infection but doctors already said the pitcher can be optimistic but realistic. If he does not have any neuro or vascular damage and the surgery is successful, he should be healthy by next season, they told The Post.
The doctors said he won't be able to do any weight-bearing activities from anywhere from six weeks to three months. Combine this set-back with recovery from Tommy John surgery last year and the odds of returning to the mound in Yankee Stadium this summer look pretty slim.
"The way I work this stuff, my mindset is, until they're close to knocking on the door, [I don't think about it]," Cashman said. "Obviously, in Joba's case it's still a question of when he comes back. I just hope we're in a position where he can come back."
Cashman said he wasn't mad about the fluke injury, as he has been about other off-field injuries.
"I'm sad about it," he said. "It's just a tragic, freak accident."
Cashman was objective and said," He was just being a father."
Will the risk-taking GM— Cashman has rappelled down a Connecticut skyscraper— forbid his players from participating in activities as dangerous as hopping on a trampoline or skiing with their kids in the future?
"It's hard to say," Cashman said. "It's hard to tell a group of people not to be a father."