MIAMI (AP) — Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. will undergo season-ending surgery after suffering a complete tear of the ACL in his right knee during Atlanta’s 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.
An MRI showed the severity of the injury and the Braves made the announcement shortly before midnight, finishing the year for one of the most dynamic players in the majors.
Hours earlier, Acuña had tears in his eyes as he was carted off the field at Marlins Park.
Acuña landed awkwardly on his right leg after jumping on the warning track in right field trying to catch a drive from Jazz Chisholm Jr. in the fifth inning. He slammed into the outfield wall and crumbled on the warning track, immediately grabbing his right knee while Chisholm sprinted for an inside-the-park homer.
Acuña tried to walk off but dropped back to the ground in shallow right field. A trainer tended to him while a cart was retrieved, and concerned teammates gathered quietly around him.
Tears welled in the 23-year-old’s eyes as he waited. When the cart pulled around to the nearby warning track, he had to be helped over and did not put any weight on his right leg.
“He’s in a lot of pain, I can tell you that. It’s a tough break for the team and for him,” manager Brian Snitker said after the game.
Acuña had been slated to start in the outfield for the NL All-Star team in Tuesday’s game, his third appearance. He is hitting .283 with 24 home runs and 52 RBIs for the three-time defending NL East champions, who are four games behind the first-place New York Mets.
Braves pitcher Max Fried gave up three straight hits after seeing Acuña get hurt.
“You never like to see one of your teammates come up injured after trying to make a great play,” Fried said. “It’s obviously very unfortunate, but you have to stay with the task at hand and finish the game.”
Chisholm at first thought Acuña was going to make the catch and didn’t realize the severity of the injury until after he crossed home plate.
“A guy like that, him getting injured, the baseball world is going to miss him if he’s out for a long time,” Chisholm said right after the game. “Hopefully he gets better.”
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