If you’ve been waiting to hear an update on the condition of the best Cubs prospects Brennen Davis’s back Be careful about what you hope for.

We finally received an update, but the news isn’t good:

In the midst of what was initially believed to be a normal lower back issue that would become better with time, Davis has been out since the beginning of May. Before that, he was experiencing an uneven start to his season at Triple-A and, as it turned out, was largely because of the back pain that he had been experiencing since the start of Spring Training.

The lower back issue was actually something far more than just a minor issue. As per this Tribune report:

Davis was undergoing back operation at Los Angeles Thursday, sources have told that the Chicago Tribune. The outfielder, 22, was placed on the Triple-A injured list on May 12 because his back was afflicted by lower back stiffness, which dates back into spring training. The procedure revealed a mass of blood vessels which had caused back and leg discomfort. The vascular malformation was pushing against the nerve similar to sciatica.

The only thing you can expect is that the surgery eases the pain without affecting Davis’s physical capabilities in unexpected ways. The best part is that there was no disc or structural issues found during the procedure (which was the kind of thing they thought they would uncover). However, any procedure can be stressful and back surgery is especially stressful.

(A sciatica, for those who aren’t familiar refers to pain in the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back down to the hips, and eventually through your legs. It usually occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed due to an injury to the structure, so this is probably the reason that the surgeons thought they’d discover.)

Davis is still young at 22 which will aid in his recovery and prognosis. However, you’re playing the role of an armchair doctor if you don’t be able to predict how the situation will play out or even the way it does. For the sake of fandom I believe it’s safe to assume Davis has been ruled out for the season, and the whole season will be seen as a lost season. If Davis comes back prior to the end of the season or in the spring next year then we could be surprised.

As for the subject, Davis is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this year I’d guess that the Cubs will continue to keep his place as a player on their 40-man roster even if he’s not yet ready to participate in – for instance, in the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost bats. I’m not convinced that you can be a risk of losing him regardless of how concerned you might be about his back. He’s incredibly gifted, and even when he comes back fit – and the article suggests hope for an all-round recovery – he’s definitely likely to be a target for significant big league performances in 2023. Then the All-Star potential will increase from there.

Also it’s possible to hope that this isn’t an unintentional setback. An extremely long, terribly unlucky and poorly-timed setback. More details will be available as soon as they become available.

As I write, Sahadev Sharma dropped his report on the matter and confirms that a possible return for the season “in question”:

Positive signs However, there is a sense of this being the best case scenario regarding back surgery is concerned and hope that he’ll complete an entire recovery. The next follow-up appointment is scheduled for this week, and there will be more information regarding the progress.