Ooltewah first baseman/pitcher Kevin Dupree, who left Friday’s game against unbeaten Tullahoma with a shoulder injury, on Monday was given the green light to play after X-rays showed no damage to his left arm.
Dupree, who has signed with Middle Tennessee State University, is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday when the Owls play McMinn County in District 5-AAA action. Game time is 4 p.m.
“I’m OK and I’ve been cleared to play,” Dupree said Monday afternoon. “They didn’t feel the need to do an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). They showed me the X-ray and said everything looked fine and the structure was perfect.”
Dr. Chad Smalley, a shoulder replacement specialist for the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthaepedics, handled the tests on Dupree.
“I was calm when I got down there because there was no pain in my shoulder and I could move my arm OK,” Dupree said. “I felt fine, but there was the thought in my mind that it could be something. When Dr. Smalley told I was OK a big smile went across my face. That was a huge relief.”
Dupree said he texted Owls coach Brian Hitchcox and that he also was pleased with the positive news.
What was Hitchcox’s reaction?
“Relief,” he said.
Later, Hitchcox sent players home after Monday’s game against McMinn County was postponed by heavy rain.
Dupree recalled the injury that occurred during the Owls’ 14-5 loss to highly-touted Tullahoma on Friday.
The smooth-throwing left-hander said he threw a pitch and heard a “pop” in his shoulder and felt a “tingling.”
“It scared me,” Dupree said. “I was thinking a worst case scenario. Coach Hitchcox came out and asked me what happened. I told him what I felt and we went right to the dugout. The trainer examined me and I passed all the tests he did.
“He didn’t think it was anything serious and thought it was probably a muscle rolling over the bone and then rolling back.”
As a precaution, it was suggested that Dupree get an MRI on Monday. However, it turned out that an X-ray was sufficient to give Smalley all the information he needed to give the Ooltewah standout the OK to resume playing.
Dupree was held out of any further action in the Wildcat Classic over the weekend, but will return to the pitching-rich Owls’ lineup on Tuesday, weather permitting.
Dupree said he was not restricted when it comes to taking his next turn on the mound.
Ooltewah (5-1 overall, 2-0 district) swept Soddy-Daisy to open the district schedule last week and host the Cherokees (0-3, 0-2) in the second home-and-home series.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)