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Mike Napoli reveals hip condition: avascular necrosis

Jan 22, 2013, 5:15 PM EDT

mike napoli getty Getty Images

That Mike Napoli ended up accepting a one-year, $5 million guarantee from the Red Sox after originally agreeing to a three-year, $39 million contract suggested that something pretty bad was going on with his hip. The details came out today, courtesy of Napoli’s agent: Napoli was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both of his hips.

Avascular necrosis is pretty much what it sounds like: the death of bone due to a lack of blood supply. According to Wikipedia, it’s most common in the hip, though it can also take place at the shoulder, knee and other joints.

The 31-year-old Napoli has experienced no symptoms as a result of the condition. According to his agent, it was caught at the very early stages, having been revealed in the Red Sox’s original physical. While people with avascular necrosis of the hip often end up needing a total hip replacement, that appears to be many years off in this case, if it ever proves necessary at all.

Bo Jackson’s is the most famous case of avascular necrosis, with his developing after he injured his hip in an NFL game. He later returned to baseball and the major leagues, but he was never the same kind of athlete.

Brett Favre was also diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip in 1992. He never required surgery and did OK for himself playing football for a couple of decades.

The Red Sox are planning on Napoli being their everyday first baseman this season after finalizing the contract. Playing the position should definitely be easier on his body than catching. Napoli said he’s on medication to help stave off any symptoms and that he’s really excited for the season to start up.

  1. halohonk - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Tell me the Rangers didnt know about that and iv’e got some prime beach front property in Arlington to sell you. Good luck Nap. Hope you have a good year in bean town.

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Here is the way Napoli’s incentive breaksdown:

    He gets the full $8M with 165 days on active roster, OR $500K each for 30, 60, 90, 120 days on active roster and 300, 325, 350, 375 plate appearances, that equals $4M of the $8M. An additional $1M each for 400, 475, 550, 625 PA’s

    That breakdown is from Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

  3. yahmule - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    I had avascular necrosis in my right hip. I got tired of having knee operations and decided to go for a hip replacement instead. Good luck to Napoli.

  4. balfe13 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Did you seriously just cite Wikipedia?

    • raysfan1 - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      He did, but it’s accurate in this case.

  5. Caught Looking - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Favre would have played in a wheelchair if he had his way.

    • vivabear - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:20 PM

      Brett Favre would have had his way with those Jets masseuses if he would have had his way.

  6. jonirocit - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    I’m 36 had necrosis in my hip and my case was like this . They said I would be fine for a few years and 6 months later I have a brand new hip . It only gets worse and there is no cure or meds that work. Good luck Nap. Good job Sox for catching it for both player and themselves.

  7. adyrol - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Someone needs to tell him to go to Dr.Sherman at the World Famous Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida. I had my Core Decompression surgery there to fix my AVN and though still sore I’m no longer on crutches and can walk fine again and even work out! So glad they caught his early! Good luck! It’s not fun.

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