Dodgers Injury Update: Walker Buehler Undergoes Tommy John Surgery For 2nd Time

Walker Buehler underwent a second Tommy John surgery and had his right flexor tendon repaired on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the operation in Los Angeles. At the time of announcing Buehler was set to undergo season-ending elbow surgery, the Dodgers were hopeful it would not entail Tommy John but acknowledged clarity would not be gained until the procedure was taking place.

Buehler previously had Tommy John surgery shortly after being selected by the 24th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.

He was placed on the 15-day injured list June 11 due to a right flexor tendon strain. Buehler said the pain he felt was different from previous discomfort leading up to repairing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, and an MRI initially validated that belief.

Then immediately after going on the IL, Buehler underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. The procedure was not expected to impact his timeline as the recovery for the operation fell within the same timeframe as the initial injury.

“It was something that I’ve dealt with for a long time, and given that rest and rehab was 10 to 12 weeks, and having the spur removed was 10 to 12 weeks, as a group we decided to just go ahead and get it done,” Buehler said in June.

“It’s something I was going to do in the offseason, probably we’ve discussed for the last three years to get those taken out, but ended every year healthy and kind of didn’t have the necessity to do it.

“Decided to be a little bit aggressive and go ahead and get that out of there. The timeline doesn’t really change a whole lot by doing that, and kind of kill two birds with one stone. So yeah, we’ll take six weeks, see where we’re at and then build up.”

Walker Buehler injury timeline

The beginning of the end to Buehler’s 2022 season started June 10, when he was removed after pitching just four innings against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. He was placed on the injured list the following day and upon returning to Los Angeles, underwent an MRI that revealed a right flexor tendon strain.

Buehler had surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow on June 13, and began a throwing program exactly six weeks after that. The Dodgers maintained optimism he would return in September and have ample time to build back up as a starting pitcher.

However, there was lingering discomfort in Buehler’s right elbow as he navigated days of playing catch and at the conclusion of a homestand on Aug. 10, a decision was made for another MRI. The results were inconclusive, but the Dodgers announced on Aug. 15 that Buehler would undergo season-ending surgery.

With the operation being Tommy John, Buehler now is not likely to pitch until 2024.

In February 2021, the Dodgers signed Buehler to a two-year, $8 million contract to avoid arbitration. Due to previously qualifying as a Super Two player, Buehler had arbitration-eligible years remaining in 2023 and 2024. He’s due to become a free agent after the 2024 season.

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