BALTIMORE — Despite initial hopes that Orioles third baseman Manny Machado could avoid surgery on his injured left knee, the Orioles’ 21-year-old All-Star has decided to undergo a reconstructive surgery on the knee Monday in Los Angeles, the club announced Thursday night.
Machado, who tore the medial patellofemoral ligament — a small ligament that connects to the kneecap — in his left knee, faces a rehab time of four to six months, but Machado still hopes to be ready for spring training in mid-February.
“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 statement released by the team. “I will immediately begin the rehabilitation process in hopes of being ready for the start of spring training.”
The procedure will be performed by Dodgers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles.
When Machado injured his knee after landing awkwardly on first base and falling to the ground during a game on Sept. 23, the Orioles feared the worst — that he had torn a major ligament in the knee, the ACL or MCL.
But an MRI on the joint revealed no major ligament damage, and a visit to nationally renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion confirmed the Orioles’ initial prognosis of rest and rehab with no surgery.
“After conferring with several doctors, Manny has elected to have surgery to repair his left knee,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “He has the full support of the Orioles organization with this decision and we look forward to seeing him back on the field in Sarasota at full strength.”
When the Orioles first diagnosed the injury, Duquette said it wasn’t necessarily a new injury because Machado suffered a kneecap injury two years ago in the minor leagues playing at Class-A Delmarva that could have weakened the ligament.
So after getting other opinions on the knee, a decision to undergo surgery had to be made sooner than later in order to have any chance to return in time for spring training.
In his first full season, Machado hit .283 with 14 homers and 71 RBIs while leading the AL with 51 doubles. He played in his first All-Star Game in July and will be a strong candidate for the Gold Glove with his defense at third.
Also, the Orioles announced that left-hander Wei-Yin Chen underwent successful minor knee surgery to remove small bone spurs in his right knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman of the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., last week.
Chen is expected to make a full recovery in time for the beginning of spring training.
“Wei-Yin had a procedure done on his right knee that should prevent him from future discomfort in the knee,” Duquette said. “The recovery period is three to four months so we do not expect him to miss any time during spring training.”