Tim Lincecum’s degenerative hips: Everything you need to know, and what MLB history can tell us, about the injury

By Matthew Connolly
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Jul 10, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli (12) waits his turn in the batting cage prior to a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

There is a huge spectrum for hip injuries in Major League Baseball 

There’s a short, but wide-ranging history of hip injuries in MLB history.

Looking specifically at degenerative hip injuries, there have been two high-profile, career-ending cases: former All-Star pitcher Britt Burns (1986) and should-be Hall of Fame slugger Albert Belle (2001). Both of their conditions were debilitating, with Burns’ being a little more tragic given that he was only in his mid-20s.

A more recent case is Mike Napoli, who suffers from the same degenerative condition (AVN) that forced Bo Jackson into an early retirement. Napoli is still playing today, but has experienced a steep decline in production since his 2013 diagnosis.

Of course, there are countless others who have had successful surgery for serious hip injuries. With that in mind, the big “what if” going forward is whether or not Lincecum’s injury is truly “characterized by progressive, often irreversible deterioration.” AKA the dreaded “d” word.