When Lonnie Chisenhall, the Indians No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, was hit in the face with a pitch in Thursday's game, the outcome did not appear to be good.
Yet, Chisenhall and the Indians were relieved to learn Friday afternoon that while the rookie third baseman does have a fracture in a nasal bone beneath his right cheek, the injury is not serious.
In fact, Chisenhall could play in the next few days. Or, at the latest, on Thursday after the All-Star break.
“(Chisenhall) sustained a non displaced sinus fracture in the game yesterday when the ball ricocheted off his ear flap,” Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. “You hear a lot about baseball or basketball players experiencing an orbital blow out that requires surgery and down time. This is not that.”
The injury is expected to take four to six weeks to fully heal. Before Friday’s game, Chisenhall lay on a couch in the clubhouse with ice on his face as his teammates were out on the field for batting practice.
Earlier in the day, Chisenhall was seen by an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and an ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
“The eye examination was normal and the ENT confirms the presence of the non-displaced fracture,” Soloff said. “Surgical intervention is not required.”
Soloff agreed that the ear flap absorbed a majority of the impact, keeping Chisenhall from being harmed further. Asked if the ear flap saved him, Soloff replied: “I think it did…The ear flap buffered a bit of the blow.”
So much so, Soloff said that as soon as the inflammation around Chisenhall’s eye goes away, he should be able to return to the Tribe’s lineup - albeit possibly aided by donning some type of a protective face mask.