Eaton has ACL reconstruction, faces long rehab

Adam Eaton had surgery Tuesday to repair the torn ACL - as well as other injuries - in his left knee, immediately moving into the long rehab phase that now will consume the outfielder for some time.

Eaton's surgery was performed in Washington by Nationals team orthopedist Robin West, who in addition to the full ACL reconstruction also did repair work on other ligaments and the meniscus that was torn in the area.

"There was some other ligament ... the meniscus, and there was some other ligament stuff that they repaired," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "But it was nothing that was not anticipated from the films."

Rizzo said the procedure went according to plan and confirmed the Nationals' initial diagnosis after Eaton suffered the injury 12 days ago.

"It went well," Rizzo said. "They didn't find anything that they didn't anticipate."

Eaton faces six to nine months of rehabilitation. Neither he nor the club has ruled out the possibility of a return sometime in October if the Nationals make a deep postseason run, but the expectation is that he won't make his return to major league action until next spring.

"We made it!" Eaton posted on his Instagram account following the surgery. "Getting on the road to recovery! Can't wait to get after it. Big thanks to all of the doctors/nurses who made it go smoothly. I miss being out there with the boys! Soon enough!"

Eaton-Writes-in-Pain-Sidebar.jpgEaton suffered the injury April 28 legging out an infield single in the bottom of the ninth as the Nationals tried to mount a last-ditch rally against the Mets. He landed awkwardly at the front of first base and fell to the ground in a heap, clutching his lower leg.

Eaton initially was worried he suffered a more serious injury to his ankle, though that turned out to be merely a severe sprain, less significant than the tear in his knee. Doctors decided to wait more than a week to perform the knee surgery to allow swelling to decrease in both the knee and ankle. The hope is that he won't need any work done on the ankle, though they won't know for sure until he's cleared to start walking in four weeks.

"The ankle is good," Rizzo said. "We're going to see more once it's weight-bearing. But that should be fine when he gets the knee rehabbed."

Though he didn't appear in the clubhouse while reporters were there, Eaton was at Nationals Park this afternoon beginning the rehab process with some massage and range-of-motion work.

"They don't want to put any weight on it," Rizzo said. "But he'll be rehabbing while that goes on. And then once he can, weight-bearing rehab will begin. These things usually take six-to-nine months, and ... although every rehab is different, we're anticipating that this should be a pretty ordinary rehab."

The Nationals have gone 5-5 in Eaton's absence, carrying a three-game losing streak into tonight's game against the Orioles.

Michael A. Taylor has started all 10 games in center field since Eaton went down and is batting .289 with a .341 on-base percentage and four extra-base hits in that time, though he has only one hit in his last 14 at-bats.

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