Exactly. This, too, is important. And I'm glad you brought this up. Adam Wainwright did pitch for several seasons, many seasons, good seasons, with a tear in his ligament. Chris Carpenter tried to heal a tear in his ligament and avoid surgery, and then eventually missed time and had the surgery. There was a outcry of frustration -- why didn't he have the surgery in the first place and miss less time and come back sooner? Well, because surgery is to be avoided.
I can try to explain this, if you'll give me a moment.
Can we all agree that surgery is not foolproof. There are complications, there are times surgery doesn't work, etc., etc. Tommy John surgery has a high rate of recovery, and when they're talking about recovery they're talking about being able to throw again. Being able to throw at an elite level again is another layer of that recovery rate. Let's say 8 out of 10 pitchers return to their level after having Tommy John, that's good. But that's still two out of 10 that don't. Two have the surgery and don't come back to form. Ten out of ten who try to rest and avoid surgery have a chance to return to form, or then go have the surgery.
Let's say 10 pitchers try to avoid surgery, and maybe eventually five of them needed it. It was the worth month or two month attempt because five of the 10 avoided the odds of being the one in the other five who doesn't get back to form. Now that's a nine out of 10 return. See?
I simplified the numbers here, of course, but that's why players do everything they can to avoid surgery because surgeries at not certain. They are the final option.