It wasn’t an unusual play for Derek Jeter.
Fielding a ground ball during the 12th inning in Detroit Saturday night during Game 1 of the ALCS, Jeter took four steps to his left and with his left ankle twisting under him, fell to the ground. As he flipped the ball to 2nd baseman Robinson Canoe, it was obvious that the long term Yankees short stop was in great pain. There he lay, unable to get back on his feet until he was helped off the field, left leg dangling, by manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue.
After a series of x-rays in the clubhouse it was announced that Jeter, 38, had broken his left ankle and would be out for the rest of the season. On Sunday, after a CT scan and MRI, it was announced that he would have surgery to repair the fracture in the coming few weeks. This marks the first time since Jeter became a Yankee in 1996 that he will miss post season play.
Since September, Jeter was nursing what was described as a “bone bruise” on his left ankle from a foul ball, and there’s speculation that this may have contributed to the ankle fracture. Usually, the decision to perform surgery is based solely on x-rays. Early indications are that the fracture is confined to the tibia, known as the shin bone, but the additional CT and MRI studies may suggest additional soft tissue damage to tendons or ligaments around the ankle.
How long will it take for Jeter to make a full recovery?
The usual healing period for a fracture of this nature is about 8-10 weeks, including physical rehab. But for a shortstop, an additional 2-3 weeks are required to condition the repaired area to take the stress of the quick lateral movements the position requires. Covering that stretch between 2nd and 3rd base requires more side-to-side movement than any other position in baseball. The good news is, Jeter will have the entire off season to recover and should be ready for training camp in the spring.
Jeter, whose ankle has been placed in a splint and is walking with crutches, was not at Yankee Stadium on Sunday and will not travel with the team to Detroit. Before the injury, Jeter was having an incredible year, batting .316 in the regular season, with 216 hits. He carried that over into the postseason, batting .364, the highest of any regular in the Yankees lineup. Jayson Nix will replace Jeter at shortstop.
Without Jeter in the postseason, do you think the Yankees will advance to the World Series?
BONUS: Here’s a surgical video showing one technique used to repair an ankle fracture. Note that there is never a one size fits all option for surgery. The nature of the injury, the patient’s lifestyle, and the extent of the damage, are all considered by a surgeon when determining the methods by which an ankle is repaired.