By Tom Keppeler, Knee1 Staff
Baseball is a statistical sport ruled by many abbreviations: ERA, RBI, HR, BB, etc. However, one abbreviation strikes fear into the hearts of every baseball player on two feet: ACL. On Sunday, Minnesota Twins infielder Jay Canizaro heard the three fateful letters far too early.
Canizaro, training in Florida with the Twins for his first full major-league season, was playing right field when the injury occurred. On a routine pop-up, he charged toward the ball but backed off when Jason Maxwell called him off, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He twisted his knee and fell to the ground. The following inning, Canizaro attempted to retake his position but felt his knee buckle. Team doctors originally diagnosed the injury as a sprain.
However, tests using Magnetic Resonance Imaging confirmed Canizaro had torn his Anterior Cruciate Ligament, or ACL. The injury will require season-ending surgery. "I don't think anybody expected it to be that serious," General Manager Terry Ryan told the paper. "He's a guy who's done everything we've asked, never complained… It just doesn't seem fair."
Canizaro played for the San Francisco Giants' minor league team for many years before moving to the Twins last year. After a month in Minnesota's AAA camp, he became the team's regular second baseman. Had he not been injured, Canizaro would have been backup second baseman for rookie Luis Rivas. Canizaro focused this spring on showing his versatility, playing at a number of different postions.
A tear to the ACL destabilizes the knee. As the strongest of four ligaments in the knee, the Anterior Cruciate Ligament runs from the front of the tibia (shinbone) to the back of the femur (thighbone). For Canizaro, the injury will take him the rest of the season to heal. For the next week, he will be treated for swelling, which results from the tear. Once the swelling subsides, doctors will schedule surgery. Following the surgery, Canizaro will undergo six months of rehabilitation. At the end of the process, his team doctors say, Canizaro will be fully recovered, with no loss of range of motion or speed.
To read more about ACL injuries, click here.