Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Matt Harvey declares himself 'ahead of schedule' after Tommy John surgery

Matt Harvey made his first pubic comments since having arm surgery six days ago and, with a robotic brace on his right arm and his easier-on-the-eyes girlfriend, Anne Vyalitsyna, clutching his left, declared himself "ahead of schedule" after undergoing the Tommy John procedure.

The couple walked down the "blue carpet" outside the renovated Madison Square Garden Monday night for the New York Rangers home opener. But the Mets righthander knew the spotlight was focused on his valuable arm.

“I am just doing range of motion stuff now, but today was the first day I could take the bandages off and I was at (Hospital for Special Surgery) working and everybody thinks I am ahead of schedule," Harvey told the N.Y. Daily News.

 “We were able to straighten it today and I think they were surprised I could do that, already.“So the rehab is ahead of schedule,” said Harvey, a big Rangers fan and a regular at the Blueshirts games.

That is the first good news from Harvey since Aug. 24, when he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. The pitcher took his time exploring his options before committing to surgery, which generally takes a year to recover from. After talking to other pitchers who had suffered similar injuries, most notably Roy Halladay, he began a program to strengthen the muscles around the tendon to try and throw with the partial tear.

He never got as far as the throwing portion of the program before he decided on having the surgery. Harvey admitted Monday night it was a “tough” situation for him.

“Before I decided to go with surgery, I wanted to make sure I was mentally prepared, just fully committed in my decision,” Harvey said. “My mom was down there during the surgery. The last time I was in the hospital was when I was born. This was definitely a tough decision and I wanted to make sure everything was perfect.”

But Mets fans should not get their hopes up for Harvey's return next season. Team sources have said they are not prepared to let their ace pitch in 2014. But last night's optimism is a good sign for 2015.

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