Manny Machado’s decision to have surgery on his right knee already has ended his season, and the timing of the procedure -- and its recovery -- might prevent the third baseman from being with the Orioles through the end of the regular season.
Scheduled to have season-ending surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles to repair a partially-torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his right knee, Machado might not be back to support his teammates until a possible postseason game.
Machado will fly to the West Coast on Tuesday for the procedure, which will be performed by Los Angeles Dodgers team orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the same doctor who did the same procedure on his left knee last year.
Machado is scheduled to remain in Los Angeles for about three weeks to begin his rehabilitation process. By the time he would return to the East Coast, the Orioles will be preparing to finish the regular season on the road in New York and Toronto.
So Machado said there’s a possibility he wouldn’t rejoin the team until a possible postseason series, if at all. Instead, he likely would go to the team’s spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., to continue his rehab under the supervision of medical services coordinator Dave Walker.
“It’s going to be tough for me to travel [with the team] just coming off the surgery,” Machado said. “I don’t think I should be traveling that much. That’s the thing we’re trying to see, if I should meet the team back here or how it’s done.
“But yeah, I’m going to do my rehab down in Sarasota right after the season’s done. I don’t know if I’m going to go from L.A. straight over there or come over here. I don’t know what the plan is yet, but we’ll just see how it goes.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Machado’s rehab will take priority with the hopes that Machado will be completely healthy by the beginning of spring training next season.
“He has been here before during the playoffs. It’s not a pre-requisite,” Showalter said. “I really feel good [that] he is going to be around our guys with [his rehab], and he is a good deal ahead of the last one. So hopefully he is going to have a regular spring training.
“Because I think that was a challenge for him this year. … Whether he is here or not, the most important thing is that he is serving the rehab. We are going to expand the rosters somewhat here in the next week and you don’t expand the trainers too much.”
Machado said he’d like to be around the team down the stretch, but he knows his recovery is the most important thing. He even joked that maybe he could be on FaceTime for any postseason celebration. Still, it’s a difficult situation for the 22-year-old, who is preparing to undergo his second knee surgery in the past 11 months.
“This is the biggest obstacle I’ve ever [had] in my entire life,” Machado said. “It’s been tough, but it’s just part of life. There are a lot of roller coasters in life, and you’ve just got to ride it.
“You’ve got to ride it out and stay mentally focused and strong, and at the end of the day, an outcome will always be there, and hopefully the outcome is a great one.”