During the first inning of Sunday’s game against the Rockies, the Mets shortstop appeared to injure his knee and needed be helped off the field and back into the clubhouse. The injury occurred as Cabrera was rounding third from a triple hit by Neil Walker and Cabrera was visibly injured as he dramatically slowed down and hobbled into home.
The injury was diagnosed as a strained patellar tendon in his left knee and it may be worth noting that this is the same injury that kept Cabrera out for more than two weeks during Spring Training earlier this year. The patella tendon is an important tendon that encompasses the patella (knee cap) and is attached to the quadriceps tendon above and the tibia bone below. A complete rupture of the tendon would cause the patient to lose their ability to straighten the knee and walk normally.
Patellar tendon injuries generally fall in to 2 categories. The first type of patella tendon injury is activity related and causes an inflammation, degeneration and tendinitis. This is most common in jumping athletes. Micro-tears are not uncommon. Risk factors include poor quadriceps and hamstring flexibility. The treatment includes ice, rest, activity modification and physical therapy. Surgery is a last resort and is not very common for this condition.
The second type of patella tendon injury is a true disruption or tear of the tendon off either bone to which it is attached- patella or tibia. It is more common in men than women and more often occurs in a person’s 30s or 40s. The mechanism of injury is an overload of the structures that try and straighten the knee. Most of the time the injury occurs from an awkward step - such as rounding the bases in Cabrera’s case.
Specifically, in Cabrera’s case, he certainly does not look like he fully tore his patella tendon for that would require prompt surgical repair. Likely, there is some partial tearing and strain on the tendon but not complete tearing. Moreover, this may have even been a slight subluxation (incomplete dislocation) of his knee cap. Nonetheless, the treatment overall is, likely, going to be rest, icing and physical therapy and (if there is no significant tearing) Cabrera should be able to return from this injury.
It has not been determined how long Cabrera will be on the DL with this injury. However, the Mets are certainly hoping that it is not long as Cabrera is now the sixth daily Mets starter to be placed on the DL. Throughout the year, the Mets have had no shortage of injury woes including:
- David Wright: Neck Surgery
- Matt Harvey: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Lucas Duda: Stress Fracture in Lower Back
- Juan Lagares: Torn Thumb Ligaments