While we may never get an accurate return timeline for Yankees slugger Aaron Judge until the seas have receded and the sun explodes, MLB insider Jon Heyman gave us some semblance of a whiff of a scent of a detail on Tuesday morning on MLB Network.
Judge has been laid up since he ran toe-first into the concrete slab wall at Dodger Stadium on June 3. The initial diagnosis was a ligament sprain, which became two ligament sprains, which became a full ligament tear on Saturday afternoon. Just a few days prior, the word was that Judge's swelling had gone down after a second, more carefully targeted PRP injection.
Then? Boom. Tear. Sounds worse, actually.
Judge is walking around freely in the dugout during games and looks fine, to the naked eye, but according to Heyman, he remains in pain. The reigning Most Valuable Player would never dare to defy the Yankees and make a personal assessment of his potential return date, but the bottom line is this team needs him back in full. A compromised Judge does them very little good. Haven't you seen DJ LeMahieu, post-toe issue? Judge's pivot foot is essential. He can't be driving half-power with a semi-rested digit, which could linger into next season if he returns too early.
The equivalent NFL injury, dubbed "turf toe," would theoretically carry a 6-to-8-week recovery time, leaving Judge's return 1-to-3 weeks after the All-Star break. According to Heyman, the Yankees are optimistic that could be the case, but have no intention of disseminating that estimate, considering Judge's injury is in a different spot than most normal toe issues. Hence ... silence and sadness!
Yankees Aaron Judge Injury Update: Still in pain, still unprecedented
Let's be honest with ourselves. Let's look in the mirror for one minute. When the Yankees brought Judge back and named him their captain, we all feared some sort of catastrophic injury, right? Did any of us think it'd be a toe? A power-sapping toe? A freaking toe??? Of all the timelines, this is the most hideous timeline.
The right call is absolutely for Judge to delay his return until he can operate to the best of his abilities. It's completely fair, though, to be frustrated that his exceptional follow-up to the 62-homer campaign has been derailed because he cares too much and went all-out to win a rivalry series at Dodger Stadium. What a perfectly modern Yankees-esque way for things to go. Remember that amazing memory of Judge's superhuman, game-saving catch? Yeah. Now it's known only as "That Time He Got Really Hurt."
Judge and the Yankees both still "expect" his return by the end of the season. Considering the story has already changed thrice in three weeks, though, it seems fair to attack any and all updates with a degree of skepticism, while simultaneously Googling "NFL Turf Toe Worst Case Ever How Long?"