It was bad enough when the Dodgers had to place Rubby de la Rosa on the disabled list with elbow trouble. Nobody likes to see a young talent have any problems with his throwing arm. But de la Rosa still had to be examined, and the examination showed that the flamethrower is dealing with more than simple inflammation. Dodgers Twitter:
Rubby De La Rosa diagnosed with sprained UCL. He is weighing options & determining course of treatment. Unfortunately surgery is an option.
The UCL is the ligament that gets replaced in Tommy John surgery. A sprain means a tear, but a complete tear would be called a tear, so we can assume that de la Rosa has a partial tear. That leaves him with two options: he can have the surgery and miss 12+ months, or he can attempt to work his way back via rehab. Rehab does work for some pitchers, if not a significant number of them, and a successful rehab would allow de la Rosa to be ready in time for the 2012 season, but an unsuccessful rehab would serve as little more than a surgery delay.
Knowing what little I know of de la Rosa's injury, I wouldn't be surprised to see him try the rehab route at first. He could know if it's working within 1-2 months, and if it doesn't work, he can have the surgery without jeopardizing playing time, since he'd be back in plenty of time for 2013. If he has Tommy John surgery, it doesn't much matter whether he has it next week or next month; his 2012's probably shot.