Outfielder and 2009 first round draft pick Jared Mitchell tore a tendon in his ankle while making a diving catch against the wall in today’s split squad game in Tempe. Dave Van Dyck is reporting its a “posterior tib tear on the upper inside of the ankle” and Mitchell will have surgery next week.
The story claims Mitchell could miss the season, but no recovery time will be set until after the surgery. Hopefully Mitchell won’t be out that long, but the injury is certainly a major blow to Mitchell in the short run.
It was being reported that Mitchell would start the season in AA Birmingham, skipping High-A. That aggressive assignment would have shown how confident the Sox are in Mitchell’s abilities. Assistant GM Rick Hahn said Mitchell wouldn’t receive the “Beckham treatment,” but that is no longer relevant. If Mitchell is out for the whole season, or a significant portion of it, the priority shifts from getting to the Majors to simply making sure he is 100%.
What’s even worse is that this is a leg injury and Mitchell’s best asset is his speed. If his speed is affected by this injury, it would be a tough blow to take.
In doing some research on the injury (aka Googling posterior tibial tear surgery), I found some info that may help to paint the picture. Of course, I know nothing on the subject other than what I read, but I’m going to counter the lack of journalistic standards by being completely transparent. Anyway, Orthopaedic Specialties of Tampa Bay has a good page on posterior tibial tendonitis and tears. This part specifically is of interest:
Surgical options may include cleaning away and
removing any inflamed tissue around the tendon, realigning the foot
bones, fusing some of the bones together or transferring fibers from
another healthy tendon to repair the damaged posterior tibial tendon.
The orthopaedic surgeon may use just one of these options or a
combination of them.
After surgery, a patient is required to wear a cast for at
least six to eight weeks. An intensive physical therapy rehabilitation
program is also required to strengthen the supporting muscles, increase
flexibility and heal the tendon.
Six to eight weeks in a cast plus rehab. Yikes. This of course is without knowing the severity and how the body of a professional athlete responds to the surgery. It does leave some hope open for a late return this season, but this is definitely a very serious injury. We’ll find out more after the surgery.
Update: Mitchell’s surgery will be Tuesday and he will be reevaluated Monday. Then there’s this quote from manager Ozzie Guillen:
“It’s supposed to be about a year,” he said. “We
have to wait to see after surgery happens. Hopefully, everything goes
well. The more important thing after that is the rehab, and hopefully,
he’ll get back pretty quick. We’ll see what happens.”