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Ronald Acuña Jr. on emotions facing second ACL surgery: 'It feels like I’m the one letting everyone down'

Acuña Jr. suffered a second ACL tear in three years during Sunday's win over the Pirates

Ronald Acuña Jr. feels better equipped to deal with his upcoming torn anterior cruciate ligament surgery and the long road back to the baseball field that comes with it after having dealt with the injury previously.

Speaking to the media for the first time since tearing the ACL in his left knee on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Atlanta Braves superstar is grateful for the support he's received from teammates and players around MLB. But it's still an emotional time for the 26-year-old outfielder.

“All that support finds me crying at home by myself, and the reason that’s happening is because I feel like I’m the one abandoning the team,” Acuña Jr. said Thursday through translator Franco Garcia. “It feels like I’m the one letting everyone down.”

The injury took place as Acuña Jr. took a lead on the base paths from second base in the first inning of Atlanta's 8-1 win. He fell to the turf in obvious pain and grabbed his left leg. He remained on the ground for several moments while being tended to by trainers before he eventually limped off the field.

Ronald Acuña Jr. headshot
Ronald Acuña Jr.
IL60
RF - ATL - #13
2024 - false season
192
AB
.250
AVG
4
HR
16
SB
.716
OPS

Acuña Jr. is scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles, which will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

It was nearly three years ago that Acuña Jr. tore the ACL in his right knee (Dr. ElAttrache also performed that surgery). He recovered well enough to win the 2023 NL MVP after a 41-home run, 106-RBI season for the Braves. So his familiarity with what he will go through over the next 9-10 months gives him confidence he can rebound in the same way he did last time.

“Sometimes these things are blessings in disguise,” he said. “Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find yourself. I think that’s how I’m trying to approach this thing. I’m going to take everything in stride and, like I said, it’s another opportunity. And who knows? Maybe I can come back and win another MVP.”

In 48 games this season, Acuña Jr. slashed .246/.348/.356 with four home runs, 15 RBI and 16 stolen bases.

Already without ace pitcher Spencer Strider, the second-place Braves will have to find a way in the NL East without Acuña Jr. as well.

Even without their two stars for the rest of the 2024 season, Acuña Jr. remains confident his teammates can do what they did 2021 — win a championship.

"We're here for a reason; every player on that roster is here for a reason," Acuña said. "They're certainly capable. They don't need me to win a World Series."