Adrian Gonzalez was limited to 71 games for the LA Dodgers with a back injury. Reports classified it as a herniated lumbar disk. A fairly common injury, this occurs when the inner portion of the disc (nucleus pulposis) extrudes through a tear in the outer portion (annulus fibrosis). Generally this may cause back pain and muscle spasms, but often will also cause nerve pain, due to the herniation coming into contact with one or more of the lumbar nerves. This results in pain, numbness, and weakness in the leg, commonly referred to as sciatica.
Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, epidural cortisone injections, and for severe cases, surgery. Return to play can range from 2-4 weeks for a short term episode of pain, to 6-9 months for severe cases that require surgery (usually a microdiscectomy).
Fantasy Implications: Injuries aside, Gonzalez is now 35 years old and entering the twilight of his career. Now a free agent, the New York Mets have reportedly reached out to Gonzalez as a possible stop gap for prospect Dominic Smith. The days of Gonzalez being a steady fantasy contributor are likely in the rear view mirror.