Havens described the issue as "rib tip syndrome," and the surgery trimmed a rib that was rubbing another one on his side and irritating his oblique. According to wikipedia, the first course of treatment for rib tip syndrome is anesthetic injection.
According to wikipedia, rib tip syndrome:
is characterized by pain along the costal margin and is caused byThe Mets tried anesthetic injections with Havens, but only when those proved futile, did they turn to surgery. I can't recall many (any) examples of a similar diagnosis in American sports, but two cricket bowlers underwent a similar procedure and this 2006 paper describes it as a success with both players recovering fully, and returning to action. This 1975 paper, which described the condition for the first time, notes that in the three cases which formed the basis for the description of the syndrome, there was a trauma involved which created the hyper motility and the pain.
hypermobility of the eighth, ninth and tenth ribs. These ribs do not
articulate with the sternum but instead are bound to each other by a
thin band of fibrous tissue. If this fibrous attachment becomes divided,
the rib(s) may ride up and irritate the intercostal nerve(s) causing
pain. Clinically the patient may be aware of a snapping or clicking
sensation as the ribs move relative to one another. ... Relief can be provided by anesthetizing the
relevant intercostal nerve with local anesthetic. If symptoms persist,
rib tip resection may be necessary.
What was Havens' trauma? We might never know, but the fact that he's been diagnosed, treated and is feeling better are all very encouraging signs.
You'll recall that Havens was limited to 32 games in 2010 by injuries the time were described as oblique strains. However, when he was healthy, he hit, ripping six home runs in 18 games in AA Binghamton as part of a .338/.400/.662 line.
As far as I'm concerned, this news improves Havens' stock as a prospect.