BALTIMORE – Manny Machado hobbled into the Orioles’ interview room, walking quickly with the aid of crutches. On Monday, Machado feared for the worst in Tampa Bay after he fell running over first base in the seventh inning.
On Tuesday, he got the word that he could avoid surgery on his left knee by rehabbing it. After resting in Miami, he’ll be reevaluated in four weeks by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens. If all goes well, he can start running six-eight weeks from now and be ready for spring training.
“When it first happened, it was a terrifying moment,” Machado said. “It wasn’t fun, but I got the results yesterday and it was much better what we expected.”
After the injury, Machado tumbled and was writhing in pain.
“My first initial thought was that I’m out for the season. There goes our chances of me trying to help the team trying to make the postseason,” Machado said.
The 21-year-old will go see another doctor on Monday for a second opinion. Dr. Wilckens treated Machado when he injured the same knee when he was with Delmarva in 2011. He’s hoping to avoid surgery.
“Obviously it's out there. For now, it's not in the back of my mind. I'm only 21 years old. I'm so young, my ligaments are going to recover faster than a 30-year-old. That's the first step, just steady rehab and let it strengthen on its own like it has before. If it doesn't, then if there's something else we have to do which is surgery, if it gets to that point. Hopefully it keeps getting stronger,” Machado said.
He had played in every game from his arrival on Aug. 9 to Monday. He ends with a .283 average, 14 home runs, 71 RBIs and 51 doubles, tied for the second most in club history.
“I think I had a great season. It was my first full season, I think I did great. It kind of [stinks] that it had to end like this. And then on top of that, us not being able to make the playoffs just makes it that [much] worse. It’s unfortunate,” Machado said.
“Luck hasn’t been on our side this year, coming with injuries that have happened these last couple of days and how everything has played out. But you know, we’re just going to put it aside and, my teammates are out there, they’re going to finish out these last couple games. They’re going to grind it out like we’ve been grinding it out … finish strong.”
On Tuesday night, Machado was given a big ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard.
“It’s something that I got goose bumps with it. Once again, I’ve got to think all those fans out there. They’ve supported me throughout the whole year and these last couple days. I just want to give them thanks for being there,” Machado said.