Albert Pujols did pushups the day after he suffered a hairline fracture in his left forearm and curls with 70-pound dumbbells two days later, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The only pain Pujols experienced was at the moment of impact on June 19, when he collided with the Royals’ Wilson Betemit while playing first base, the source said.
Neither his initial X-ray nor initial MRI revealed the fracture. Only after a CT-scan did the Cardinals learn that Pujols had suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left radius (forearm). It was then that the team announced that he was likely to miss 4 to 6 weeks.
Instead, Pujols was out a mere 15 days.
The Cardinals activated Pujols on Tuesday, though he did not start at first base after going through a rigorous pre-game workout. Manager Tony La Russa told reporters that he preferred Pujols to get through the workout, then return to the starting lineup on Wednesday.
Pujols, a potential free agent, is taking something of a risk – he could have given himself an extra 10 days to heal by sitting out the Cardinals’ final six games before the All-Star Game, then resting during the break.
But Pujols kept telling friends that he felt fine – good enough to play.
He saw a Cardinals doctor on Friday and again on Tuesday, each time reporting improvement, according to the source. The doctor left the decision to Pujols, telling him that if his forearm did not hurt, then he could rejoin the club.
That was all Pujols needed to hear.
He was supposed to be out until August. He made it back in early July.