Early reports on the gruesome looking knee injury sustained by Manny Machado on Sept. 23 were more positive than expected. According to the MRI results, both the ACL and MCL in his left knee were intact, which was obviously a huge relief for the Baltimore Orioles young phenom. He did, however, suffer a torn medial patellofemoral ligament, which gave him the option of rehabbing for six-to-eight weeks without surgery.
That seemed to be the way Machado was leaning initially. However, his doctors have since advised him to have the torn ligament reconstructed as to avoid future chronic issues with the knee. So that's exactly what he'll do on Monday, with Dodgers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal Elattrach performing the surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles.
"I sent my MRI results to a couple of doctors and knee specialists and we decided that in the long run and for my future as a baseball player, this surgery would be the best plan,” Machado said in a team-released quote. “I will immediately begin the rehabilitation process in hopes of being ready for the start of Spring Training.”
It's a similar situation to that of New York Mets ace Matt Harvey, who elected to try rehab over Tommy John surgery. Five weeks later, Harvey changed his tune and scheduled the operation meaning he'll miss the entire 2014 season. Fortunately for the Orioles, Machado's timetable won't be nearly that extreme. The reconstructive surgery carries a four-to-six month recovery time, meaning he could be on the field by opening day.
Of course, had he gone with the surgery immediately, that would have improved his chances of being there. But the bottom line is Manny Machado is making the best decision for his long-term health, which in turn makes it the best decision for the Orioles future. He'll be back soon enough, and he'll be just as good, if not better, than ever.