The Mets announced earlier today that Neil Walker has been diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back. The Mets are hopeful that Walker will be able to play through the ailment without surgery.
Doctors don’t believe he can do any more damage to the injury while playing, but the Mets are being safe and have sent Walker’s MRI to another doctor for a second opinion and are still awaiting word as of this time.
Walker has been dealing with back issues for quite some time now. After missing four games earlier in this month due to what was described as “lower back stiffness,” Walker experienced another flare-up on Sunday and has not played in the Mets’ three games since then, nor is he in the lineup tonight against the Marlins. The issue is apparently causing weakness in Walker’s lower body and numbness in a foot.
Yesterday, Terry Collins expressed concern over his second baseman’s back, claiming that they will have to manage the issue as the season goes on, and that Walker may not be able to play everyday in September.
Walker had dealt with a similar issue in Pittsburgh in 2012. General Manager Sandy Alderson has shut down any potential of the injury being career-threatening.
The 30-year-old Walker has been one of the Mets’ best hitters this season, with a .282/.347/.476 line this year. His health will be a huge factor for the Mets’ playoff chances in September. A long-term back injury could also affect Walker’s upcoming free agency this offseason.