How Cubs' Codi Heuer Navigated Tommy John Surgery During Lockout

How Cubs’ Heuer navigated TJ surgery during lockout originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

A trip to Chicago this week brought Cubs reliever Codi Heuer a bit of normalcy as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Because the last few months have been anything but normal for the 25-year-old right-hander.

“It was kind of tough,” Heuer told NBC Sports Chicago of navigating a serious injury during MLB’s 99-day lockout.

Heuer, who’s been rehabbing in Houston but is in Chicago this week to check in with the Cubs’ training staff, underwent surgery in early March, right before the lockout ended.

Codi Heuer's Instagram post (@c_heuey12) post-Tommy John surgery.

Teams were barred from communicating with players during the work stoppage, putting Heuer in a bit of a challenging spot. But he found a way to loop in the Cubs about his situation through the medical staff.

“I could talk to our ortho (orthopedist), which was fine, so I could get the word up the grapevine,” said Heuer, who was projected to play a huge role in the Cubs’ 2022 bullpen. 

“But, yeah, it was a little difficult during the lockout. It made the process a little tough. In the end it was all good.”

Heuer, who was speaking for the first time since undergoing surgery, said there wasn’t a single instance where he felt his elbow pop. He took his normal time off from throwing after last season ended, and when he picked things back up again, his elbow “didn’t feel right.”

“It wasn’t recovering right, it didn’t feel right,” said Heuer, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 25 appearances with the Cubs after they acquired him and Nick Madrigal from the White Sox last summer for Craig Kimbrel. 

“Some stuff that I was feeling at the end of the [2021] season was lingering, so I ended up getting a couple of opinions.”

Heuer got his elbow scanned. It was “completely torn,” he said.

“I was able to talk to our ortho, which was good, so he could communicate with the guys that I was with in Houston,” Heuer said. “The surgeon, [Keith] Meister, there that I went to, and also my PT, Russ Paine. 

“It wasn't too bad.”

Heuer has been doing his physical therapy work in Houston with Paine, with the Cubs overseeing his program. 

He’ll shift to rehabbing in Arizona when he gets closer to throwing, which he said is expected to be around six months post-op — a timetable of around September.

“Rehab is going awesome,” Heuer said. “Everything is going super smooth. I feel strong. It’s just a slow process, but we’re getting there.”

Heuer said it’s “super weird” not being around the team every day. Hanging out with friends and family is helping him stay busy, and seeing others play, which he normally isn’t able to during the baseball season.

“But honestly, I’ve just been keeping my head down and doing rehab and doing PT, making sure I take care of my stuff,” Heuer said. “It’s been great.”

And being back around his Cubs teammates has brought some normalcy.

“I’m just here hanging out, seeing the team a little bit,” Heuer said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been with the team. Just been doing rehab and taking care of my stuff.

“It’s good to be here.”

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