Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells confirmed today that third baseman Manny Machado suffered a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his left kneecap during Sunday’s game at Tropicana Field.
The ligament is located in the inner portion of the knee.
Machado, 21, did not suffer any damage to the anterior cruciate ligament or medial collateral ligament, which comes as a huge relief to the Orioles.
Machado, who’s currently receiving treatment on the knee and is unavailable for comment, will seek a second opinion. But today’s news is regarded as monumentally positive considering the horrific scene that unfolded in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The current plan calls for Machado to be shut down for six-to-eight weeks. The Orioles remain confident that he will be ready for spring training, especially because he’s a position player with a later report date and in need of fewer weeks to prepare for opening day.
“The doctors have eliminated that he was an ACL,” Duquette said. “That was our concern, but the doctors have said that it’s a torn medial patellofemoral ligament, and from what I understand, that’s good news. It’s the type of injury where you can treat it conservatively and our plan would be to treat it conservatively and see how Manny recovers from that.
“Manny had an incident when he was in Delmarva (in 2011) with the same kneecap and this is not necessarily a new injury. It’s something that he’s done before. Overall, I think it was a good report.
“If everything falls into place like we think, this is something he could recover from with rest. He would be out for the rest of the season, but he’d be able to come back and play next year.”
Bancells explained that the MPL is a smaller ligament that connects the medial side of the patella over toward the medial side of the femur.
“The MCL is fine, the ACL is fine, all those major ligaments are fine,” Bancells said. “This is a smaller ligament. And what it does is it keeps your patella from sliding laterally. So his knee was in a position that his patella slid laterally, putting pressure on that ligament and causing it to tear.
“The plan is to have him back here with Dr. (John) Wilckens in four weeks to see what the progress is. All in all, if that continues on a conservative path, that would be six-to-eight weeks before he could start to do more functional things like start light running.
“If the conservative method works, he’s ready for spring training.”
And if it doesn’t?
“That’s why we’re going to get him back and look at him in four weeks and try to get closer to making some decisions there,” Bancells said. “It still allows us enough time to get Manny ready for the season and spring training. Don’t forget that for Manny, that really means mid-March for a position player. It’s kind of a drop-dead date.
“The first thing he’ll do is gain motion back in it once the swelling’s gone and go from there.”
Bancells said he’s seen this type of injury a few times over the years.
“Manny’s a young guy. It’s common in adolescent athletes, the young athlete,” Bancells said.
“I’m really relieved because you don’t know when you’re right there on the field. All you’re trying to do is stabilize the injury and get him in the hands of the physicians. So I’m very relieved based on what we clinically saw last night.”
Manager Buck Showalter kept preaching the importance of waiting until the results of the MRI came back before offering a diagnosis. Turns out, Machado’s injury isn’t nearly as serious as first speculated.
“We don’t know what the next six-to-eight weeks will bring,” Showalter said. “We’ll see if this resolves it or not. I’ll let the professionals make the decisions. Manny’s in great hands. He’ll talk to you all at some point. He’s getting a little treatment right now. But I know it’s good news for the clubhouse, as much for the person as for the team. They’ve all come to really respect Manny and the way he carries himself this year and the way he’s presented himself.”
Said Duquette: “I was relieved because it’s a good report. For Manny, he’s a young guy. He’s got a lot of his career ahead of him.”
Machado batted .283 with 51 doubles - tops in the American League - 14 homers and 71 RBIs while starting all 156 games before tonight. He’s also played Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.