Times took a turn for the worse this morning for the Yankees and their lefty ace. ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the Yankees now fear that C.C. Sabathia could be headed toward needing microfracture knee surgery.
There continues to be a possibility that CC Sabathia will require microfracture surgery on his knee, with an uncertain pitching future.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 4, 2014
Sabathia has set up an appointment with Dr. James Andrews to have him take a look at his knee after an MRI Thursday revealed swelling in his right knee.
When people hear microfracture surgery, there is an immediate fear of the player never being the same. If you ask a New York sports fan, they will point to their prime example of the surgery in former super star Amar’e Stoudemire. The surgery has single handedly led to the demise of what was one of the greatest basketball players in NBA. While he is a good example of what could happen in basketball (along with Greg Oden), the surgery is much less common in baseball. Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Scott Feldman, and most recently Derek Holland have all undergone the surgery. As you know, Sizemore has never really been the same since he relied on his speed early on, but Feldman has seemed to recover fine.
The surgery itself is not as cut and dry as Tommy John surgery. There are multiple areas to perform the surgery, each requiring different recovery times. If the surgery is performed to a weight bearing bone like the tibia or fibula, the recovery is 6-8 months typically. If a patellar repair is performed then the timeline is shorter at 4-6 months. In the case of Sabathia, if it is a weight bearing bone, that could lead to some future problems as a pitcher really needs that front leg to hold steady on foot strike. It doesn’t help that Sabathia would be throwing his near 300 lbs onto that leg either.
If the diagnosis comes back as definite microfracture surgery, the Yankees are in trouble. News with Sabathia seems to get more and more ominous each day. While manager Joe Girardi told reporters before yesterday’s game that the news on Sabathia wouldn’t change the Yankees plans, it seems almost impossible for the Yankees not to make a move now to acquire a starting pitcher.
The Yankees are right in the thick of the AL East and they need at least one more pitcher to push them back to the top. We should find out more on the injury over the weekend, but the signs are not looking good.