Hamilton to have back surgery

By Marc Topkin
October 19, 2001

Devil Rays top prospect Josh Hamilton is sidelined by injury again.

Hamilton hasn’t played in the Arizona Fall League since Thursday because of back problems, and the Tampa Tribune reported Friday that he will need surgery on a herniated disc on his lower back.

Hamilton will return home to North Carolina before surgery, which could take place as soon as next week.

“I’ll just look forward to next season and start over,” Hamilton told the Tribune. “I’ll be all right. I’ll be back out there playing before you know it.”

Hamilton, who was involved in a car accident during spring training, played only 27 games during the regular season because of back and leg problems.

The Rays don’t know the severity or origin of the latest injury.

“We’re in the process of trying to determine that,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Wednesday. “We don’t know if it’s the same thing or something new.”

After missing the first week of the AFL season with a sore shoulder, Hamilton played two games, going 0-for-7, and reported the back problems.