CHICAGO -- John Smoltz underwent successful arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Tuesday afternoon. Whether he'll be able to ever pitch again will be determined during the next few months.
After noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews completed the surgical procedure on Smoltz, the Braves announced that the veteran pitcher's future as a player will be determined following a rehabilitation period.
During the surgery, Andrews found Smoltz's labrum to be the most damaged region of his shoulder.
Smoltz battled shoulder discomfort during the five starts he made in April prior to visiting Andrews, who determined the pain was a product of inflammation around the rotator cuff and biceps tendon. This led the 41-year-old pitcher to attempt to return as a relief pitcher, a role he handled for the Braves from 2001-2004
After blowing a save opportunity in the first relief appearance on June 2, Smoltz felt tremendous pain. Two days later, it was announced that he'd undergo the season-ending surgical procedure.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution presented a more gloomy outlook regarding Smoltz's return saying that a significant deterioration of the labrum for an older pitcher poses a more complicated setback.
"While Smoltz has shown extraordinary resiliency over his career in recovering from four elbow surgeries over a six-year period, this is not a comparable situation.
With a bigger group of muscles and more moving parts, shoulders often prove more problematic after surgery.
It was the former Cy Young winner's wish to have a quick resolution to his post-op choices."
"But all the club knows now is the surgery was a serious one, and re-habbing such an injury is not a given.
Having already scratched Smoltz for the summer — even something as simple as bone-chip removal could have knocked him out for the season — the club must now ponder a franchise without him."
Frank Wren said, "We've got to plan as if he will not going to be with us, and then it will be a big bonus if he is. That's all we can do right now."
Adapted from MLB.com and AJC.com