Dodgers Team News

Clayton Kershaw News: What Does Glenohumeral and Capsule Surgery Look Like, What’s the Recovery Time?

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw announced that he underwent surgery to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule in his left shoulder. Kershaw said he is “hopeful” to return at some point next summer, but obviously, that’ll depend on how he recovers from this major surgery.

The first question that came to our mind was, of course: What is glenohumeral ligament surgery and capsule and what does the recovery look like?

So, we figured many Dodger fans had that same question, and we wanted to do our best to answer them.

First, here are some key takeaways:

  • Glenohumeral ligament and capsule surgery is a specialized procedure targeting the shoulder’s ligaments and the protective capsule surrounding the joint.
  • The surgery aims to restore stability, reduce pain, and improve the range of motion in the shoulder.
  • The standard recovery time varies, but patients typically return to normal activities within four to six months, with athletes requiring a more extended period for full sports-related recovery.

The most important one for Dodger fans is the last one, as recovery is anywhere from four to six months for “normal activities,” but could be longer for a pitcher. Kershaw said he is hopeful to play next summer, which means he could be looking at a pretty significant recovery process.

Here’s a more in-depth overview of the surgery, after some quick research online:

The shoulder consists of the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). The glenohumeral ligaments play a crucial role in stabilizing the ball of the upper arm bone within the socket of the shoulder blade. Over time, due to injuries, wear and tear, or specific medical conditions, these ligaments can become compromised, leading to instability or pain and leading to surgeries like Clayton’s.

In most cases, this surgical procedure focuses on both the glenohumeral ligaments and the capsule, a protective sheath that envelopes the joint. When these structures are injured or overly worn, it can lead to conditions such as recurrent shoulder dislocations or persistent discomfort.

What exactly Kershaw’s situation looks like we’re unclear about.

At any rate, the surgery involves repairing the ligaments and restoring stability in the shoulder. In certain cases, the surgeon might also address any damage to the labrum, but that wasn’t mentioned in Kershaw’s post on Instagram.

Again, the biggest question is what does that recovery time look like in most cases? A standard recovery window is generally between four to six months for most people. But most people aren’t future Hall of Fame pitchers expecting to throw 80-100 pitches every five days. Six months would put a return somewhere around April. But Kershaw said he hopes to return next summer, which could mean his expected recovery time could be closer to eight to ten months on the high end.

Will Clayton Kershaw Pitch for the Dodgers Next Season?

The short answer is, we truly don’t know. But clearly, Kershaw spoke with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, and decided that a return next summer is not out of the question.

Of course, that’ll depend on how he recovers, and if he decides to sign with the Dodgers at all this offseason (he’s a free agent and could elect to sign with the Texas Rangers, his hometown team).

But for now, we can hope that Kershaw’s rehab recovery goes well, and he’s able to make a retirement decision on his own terms.

Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Camras contributed to this story.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!


  1. If he wanted to play for Texas he has had plenty of opportunities to do it. I think it’s pure speculation that keeps getting repeated.
    My dream scenario would be him coming back in July, fresh and strong from rehab, pitching a half season farewell tour and leading the team to a WS Champoinship.

  2. He needs 64 strikeouts to hit 3000 for his career. That is why he is coming back. If they make a run for the WS (Friedman will have to do better than he did this year or it will be out of the question) then that would be bonus and he could retire a lifetime Dodger This is a young mans injury and recovery will not be easy for Kersh. But it should be good enough for a late season return to pickup the needed strikeouts and have a fairwell tour around the league. He’s earned it.

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