Justin Masterson will miss at least one start because of a strained left oblique, according to manager Terry Francona. It is unclear whether he suffered the injury during the game or pre-game warmups/stretching.Strains of the oblique muscles and their tendons occur when the muscles are most at risk in sports when the athlete is involved in movements that extend and twist the trunk (butt) of the body. This extension and rotation is required to create force in the pitching motion, and as the athlete completes the motion by following through, the abdominal muscles flex the trunk and the internal and external muscles on the opposite side counter the trunk rotation.
The loss of activity time for this injury is usually four to six weeks, with six weeks being more realistic to avoid re-occurrence.
Essentially, the decision the Indians have is this: wait four weeks (two starts) and then put Masterson back in the rotation. If they do this, there is a slighly higher risk of re-occurrence. A re-occurrence would guarantee that his season would be over; a near fatal blow if the Indians sneak into the playoffs. If they decide to shut him down for the season, they will be without their ace in an already thin starting rotation while fighting for a playoff spot. Shutting him down however, would give him an early start on rehabbing the injury and assurance that he arrives at spring training in good shape.
At least, this was not devastating news.