You're not normally going to see J.D. Drew, immediately upon entering the Red Sox locker room, wave to reporters and announce, "Court is in session."
But Drew isn't dumb. He knew what was coming. He'd even known what was coming before manager Terry Francona informed beat writers that Drew had flown back to Boston to get an injection in his back, an injection that spurred sky-is-falling pronouncements across New England.
"I read some of the stuff that was being written and got kind of a kick out of it," he said.
Here's what he had to say in his meeting with reporters:
Was this prompted by more stiffness in your back, or was this more of a preventative thing?
"More than anything, I'd talked about residual stiffness that I had throughout the offseason and really wished I could get rid of it. I started working with a chiropractor, and we started talking about the facet (pronounced fuh-SET) tightness that I had. He thought that might be the main cause of some of that residual stiffness when I'm sitting around, riding on airplanes, sitting around the house. Really, the only way to know if this would work or not was to go ahead and try the injection. If it worked, that was great. We knew we could get that freed up. If it didn't, we'd try something different. But it's felt really good the last couple of days."
How do you know, ultimately, if it works?
"You kind of have an idea after the injection is put in there; if you get up off the table and it's numb and not real stiff, you've got an idea you're in the right area. Immediately after getting off the table, I felt pretty good -- and then you have a five- to seven-day area where the anti-inflammatory kicks in and continues to free up and let more mobilization in that joint."
How long would you benefit from each shot, if you were to take these periodically?
"They say you could take them three to four times a year, that is, if you need them. My thing, after talking and going through some stuff with the training staff, was just trying to figure out if I did this one time, if that would actually break the cycle of inflammation in those facet joints and allow me to do certain things where they were grinding on each other or bound up. It could be years before I had to have another one, or it could be months down the road. I don't really know. My thing was just to see if it would work, to see if it would break the cycle of inflammation in those facet joints, and from everything I can see, it did have some benefit."
Will you play tomorrow?
"Yeah. That was the game plan, talking with Tito, that I would play on Friday. I've been taking it real easy the last few days, just trying to let everything set up and not aggravate it. I'll do some work today, take some swings, and play tomorrow."
When you're talking about residual stiffness, did you feel that on the field at all?
"No, the more that I got it loose and moving around, I wasn't having issues playing. It felt good. That was encouraging. But it is aggravating to be sitting at home, what we call dancing in the chair, back and forth, trying to get into a position that doesn't really stiffen up. I had good days and bad days, but hopefully, this will give me the benefit of getting freed up and giving me a lot of good days."
How confident are you that you'll be able to play the whole season?
"That's the goal. That's one of the reasons for the injection now versus later, was to give myself every opportunity to play every day out there and play as many games as possible. Talking with the guys, it came up, 'Why don't we do it when we get back to Boston?' Well, if I waited that long, I'd end up missing a few days during the season, waiting for it to set up. Now was the right time to do it, and it really does give me an opportunity to try to make a run at as many games as I can."
Was there any concern at all about the plane ride to Boston making things worse for your back?
"The big key was to do it with somebody who we knew was at the top of their game. (Dr. Bill) Palmer is one of the best. We asked for recommendations down around this area, and nobody had a certain, 'Oh, this guy would be the one to go to.' Unless you hear that, if somebody's sticking a needle in your spine, it's not really good to go to somebody who's, 'Well, I think this guy might work out.' Plus, I got to see some global warming up in Boston while I was there, so that was fun."