UPDATE: Tuesday, June 10 at 2:44 p.m. ET by Nicholas Goss
Not many people imagined Mariano Rivera would pitch again this season after he tore his ACL earlier this year, but a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post makes it seem like a 2012 return isn't impossible.
Dr. Keith Pyne made it clear on several occasions in a phone conversation with The Post that the ultimate authorities on when Rivera will return are his surgeon, Dr. David Altchek, the Yankees and Rivera himself. And he said the working theory is, “Right now, he’s shut down until next year.”
But the key words in that reply were “right now.” For in our conversation yesterday, Pyne also said Rivera is “working his butt off,” is well ahead of schedule in rehab and “is itching to get back.”
There's absolutely no reason for the Yankees to risk having Rivera come back too soon. They are better off going with what they have and taking their chances in the playoffs.
Update: Wednesday, June 6 at 5:12 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney
Mariano Rivera, who tore his ACL in early May, is scheduled to undergo surgery next week (via nj.com's Dave Hutchinson):
Mariano Rivera will undergo surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament on Tuesday, June 12, the Yankees closer told reporters moments ago.
The all-time saves leader had not had the surgery up until now because of a blood clot in his right calf. The blood clot has cleared up, Rivera said, so he can now have the surgery, which will be performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery by David Altchek, the Mets' team doctor.
Rivera is most likely out for the rest of this season, but surgery in June means he is on pace to return for spring training in 2013.
----------End of Update----------
Before the game at Kauffman Stadium, closer Mariano Rivera was shagging fly balls during batting practice, something he typically does to get loose before a ballgame. Then, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Sports, he hurt his knee and fell down in obvious pain.
Update: Wednesday, May 9 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Yesterday there were reports of a complication for Rivera that was delaying his surgery. It wasn't clear what the problem was, but Kevin Kernan of the New York Post has ended the mystery
Mariano's issue was a blood clot in his leg. Calf area.— Kevin Kernan (@NYPost_Kernan) May 9, 2012
That's an issue worth getting worked up over. Thankfully the problem was caught early enough before anything serious happened.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, surgery is not going to happen for a few more weeks so Rivera can strengthen his knee.
Doctors told Rivera he needs to strengthen the knee and his range of motion before surgery. Will be a couple weeks until the surgery.— Mark Feinsand (@BloggingBombers) May 9, 2012
Kimberly Jones of WFAN Radio in New York quoted Rivera as saying that he was uneasy about the diagnosis, obviously.
Mariano Rivera says he was "scared" about clot: "I never hear good things about blood clots." One night in hospital, believes clot OK now.— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) May 9, 2012
Update: Tuesday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. ET
Earlier, it was reported that Rivera had run into complications at the doctor regarding his torn ACL. Now, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York is reporting that a team official said things aren't serious right now.
On Tuesday morning, a high-ranking team official said the complications weren't that serious at this point. The Yankees were still gathering further information and, with any complications related to surgery, it can't be good news.
The last part of the first line, "at this point," is kind of cryptic. Given the lack of hard information being released by the team, one would presume that it is at least enough of a complication to get their ears to perk up.
According to WebMD, the normal recovery time from ACL surgery is four to six months. Using the entire time frame, Rivera would likely have to go under the knife in July or August to make it back in time for spring training next season.
Update: Tuesday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m. ET
The hope was that Rivera would be able to go under the knife sooner rather than later to start his rehab and prepare for next season. According to George King of the New York Post, doctors ran into complications, but no one is saying what the problem is.
Mariano Rivera’s visit with surgeons yesterday was expected to result in a date for surgery to repair a torn right ACL.
However, things didn’t go as smoothly as expected for the Yankees closer.
“We ran into complications,’’ agent Fernando Cuza told The Post. “I am referring to Dr. Ahmad and [Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman for further information.’’
Things certainly aren't going Rivera's way right now. It has been five days since the incident occurred at Kaufmann Stadium and we are no closer to surgery for him than when it happened.
Update: Friday, May 4 at 5:18 p.m. ET
Mariano Rivera thanked his fans on Friday and hinted that he may not retire yet after all:
Thank you fans, friends and family for your prayers, well wishes and support. I will be ok.I will be back.— Mariano Rivera (@MarianoRivera) May 4, 2012
Update: Thursday, May 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET
According to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, Joe Girardi had this to say about Rivera's injury:
"It's not what you want, but it's not season over." Girardi said that the torn ACL is a "preliminary report," but it could be "as bad as it gets."
Update: Thursday, May 3 at 11:43 p.m. ET
Things have gone from bad to worse for Yankees fans. According to Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan, Rivera has a torn ACL.
Mariano Rivera with torn ACL.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 4, 2012
Update: Thursday, May 3 at 7:50 p.m. ET
Sounds like the Rivera injury is serious enough to undergo an MRI, according to YES sideline reporter Meredith Marakovits:
Mariano examined by KC physician ... Twisted right knee ... Going for MRI #yankees— Meredith Marakovits (@M_Marakovits) May 3, 2012
Nate Bukaty of 810 WHB in Kansas City was able to speak with Yankee players right after the injury occurred and witnessed Rivera being carted off:
Asking Yankees players coming in from BP what happened. One of them said "he slipped on the warning track." #Rivera— Nate Bukaty (@nate_bukaty) May 3, 2012
Just came down to the tunnel by the clubhouse. Saw Rivera helped off of the cart by Giradi. No weight on right leg.— Nate Bukaty (@nate_bukaty) May 3, 2012
Was he in pain, or are the Yankees just being cautious with their future Hall of Famer? David Waldstein of the New York Times saw Rivera’s face and the news doesn’t sound good:
Mariano Rivera was carted off and his facial expression was serious. It's not clear what the injury is yet. More later #Yankees— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) May 3, 2012
So, how serious is the injury? CBS Sports reporter Danny Knobler caught footage of it and didn’t sound very optimistic about it:
YES just showed Rivera injury. Didn't look good. Right knee buckled as he was shagging fly balls in BP— DKnobler (@DKnobler) May 3, 2012
This is a nightmare scenario for the Yankees. Already struggling out of the gate, losing their legendary closer for any amount of extended time could bury this team before the All-Star break. In nine appearances on the season, Rivera had registered five saves in 8.1 innings, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out eight and walking two for an ERA of 2.16 and a WHIP of 0.96.
The 42-year-old righty was on pace for another spectacular season, and now, he may be in danger of missing a large chunk of the season.
Check back with Bleacher Report as more information is released on this developing story.