Chipper Jones has torn ACL, needs surgery – updated

It’s been 17 years since the Braves have had to make a run to the playoffs without Chipper Jones as a fixture at third base. To get back there now, they’ll have to do it without him.

An MRI Thursday revealed Jones has a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and is facing season-ending surgery.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time, obviously for us, as well as he was playing,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

The 38-year-old Jones could also be facing the end of his career, something he was already mulling over anyway.

That’s not a decision he was prepared to make Thursday in the aftermath of the sudden news that he was out for the season, his agent B.B. Abbott said. Jones plans to address the media on Friday before the Braves open a four-game series with the Dodgers.

“He’s distraught,” Abbott said. “…Until he gets his arms around it, he knows it would be premature for him, or anybody else, to say definitively what he will do at this point. It’s a big, big decision. He can’t make it two hours after he finds out his season is over.”

Jones had said Wednesday in Houston, the day after he injured his knee making a dynamic play at third base, he would “have to consider” coming back next season from an extended rehabilitation.

“As we did when this all (retirement talk) started, we’ll wait until after the season to make those kinds of determinations and let Chipper decide what his future holds,” said Wren, who spoke to Jones briefly Thursday before flying back from Minneapolis where he attended the MLB owners’ meetings. “But I think he’s dedicated to rehabbing and getting ready for next year.”

Jones knows exactly what the six-month rehabilitation entails. He missed the entire season in 1994 in what would have been his rookie year after tearing the ACL in that same left knee in spring training. But that was when he was only 21, about to turn 22.

At age 38, while hitting only .228 in mid-June, Jones admitted he was leaning toward retirement, and met with the Braves to discuss his options, with two years and $28 million left on his contract.

But since word leaked of that meeting, Jones has been much better at the plate, hitting .307 with seven home runs in 44 games. For the season, he’s hitting .265 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs in his usual No. 3 spot in the order.

“I told Chipper he was swinging as well as I’d ever seen him,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said Thursday. “He’s lowered his posture from the left-hand side and was just attacking the ball. That led me to believe he’d be leading us on. But not anymore.”

Jones injured his knee Tuesday night, jumping as he turned to throw across his body after fielding a ground ball up the third base line by the Astros’ Hunter Pence. Although he was in obvious pain, lying on the ground in foul territory, Jones was hopeful afterward that it wouldn’t be as bad this time around.

Jones said Tuesday night and Wednesday morning there wasn’t as much swelling as when he tore his ACL in 1994. He thought he might be able to avoid surgery and come back this year. But he found out otherwise Thursday morning when he was examined by Dr. Marvin Royster, the same Braves orthopedic surgeon who performed his operation in 1994.

“When we got the news this morning, actually, I was pretty shocked,” Wren said.

Now the Braves will likely turn to Brooks Conrad, Omar Infante and Martin Prado to fill the void. Prado isn’t likely to return from the disabled list with a broken pinky finger until early next week, Cox said. All three can play third base, as can Eric Hinske.

“When we get Martin Prado back, it’ll mean inserting two All-Stars into the lineup, he and Omar Infante,” Wren said. “So I’m not sure we’ll find anything better than that out on the market place.”

The Braves could still search out a third baseman through a waiver trade, but it gets harder, given how many players have already gone through waivers and been claimed or blocked, and given that teams ahead of the Braves can block moves knowing exactly what their needs are.

Troy Glaus, given the health of his legs, is not an option to play third base, Wren said. He also said Jones’ injury doesn’t necessarily expedite the call-up of first base prospect Freddie Freeman.

“It doesn’t really change our first base situation at all,” Wren said. “So I don’t think that really fits into the equation at this point in the season.”

The Braves, who led the Phillies by 2 ½ games in the NL East, pending Philadelphia’s game Thursday night against the Dodgers, are facing key injuries just when the Phillies are starting to get healthy.

In less than a week, the Braves suffered two potential season-ending injuries to both Jones and pitcher Kris Medlen, who has a partially torn elbow ligament and faces the prospect of surgery himself.

“When you look at our club and you think of the Atlanta Braves, the first guy you think of is Chipper Jones,” Wren said. “And his presence in the lineup has been increasing (given) his performance the last couple months. He was a force. We’re losing a lot.”

AJC columnist Mark Bradley contributed information to this report.

671 comments Add your comment

Bob Horner Fan

August 12th, 2010
11:44 am

Bobby Cox is Da Man

August 12th, 2010
11:44 am

Oh wow, that is awful…

Manny Sanguillen Is Bein' Korean

August 12th, 2010
11:44 am

DAMMIT! (first)

bravesgirlnc

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

Josh

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

gtgreg

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

Would be sad to see his career end this way.

59bulldawg

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

I second that sentiment!

william cranman

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

Well that takes care of this season for the Braves. Won’t be able to overcome this.

the voice of truth

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

well that really sucks

bulldogbyrd

August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

This is not what we need to hear as our Braves battle for a postseason birth. Lets hope the second opinion is more favorable! Hurry back Chipper!

Paul

August 12th, 2010
11:46 am

dangit…he was turning his season around nicely

Frankie

August 12th, 2010
11:46 am

No way! Hang in there, Chipper. God bless you.
Let’s go Braves! Now this season is for Bobby AND Chipper!!!!

I Hate Troy Glaus (formerly I Hate Liberty Media)

August 12th, 2010
11:46 am

damndamndamn.

[...] Dave O’Brien also has a story here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Chipper Likely to RetireBraves Offseason [...]

ormewood

August 12th, 2010
11:46 am

Terrible, terrible news. When’s Prado coming off the DL? His bat is desperately needed.

Richard

August 12th, 2010
11:46 am

Well that ends Chipper’s career. Ironic it’s the same injury that he had to begin his career, and the same to end it.

BoroBall3

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

… wow… the Hall of Famer gave it all and then some on that play.. only Chipper knows what is best for him right now, but we should all be thankful for what Chipper has done for the Braves and major league baseball…

collegeballfan

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

Tough. I really hope this is an incorrect report.

the D

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

I have tears in my eyes. I feel awful for him. He is a great player and has been for a long time. Win one for the CHIPPER! (really corny isn’t it)

CFB Fan

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

OH NO!!!!!!!!!

Who is going to replace Chipper in the lineup?

railman311

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

That just plain SUX!!!

BMC Dawg

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

joe

August 12th, 2010
11:47 am

rehab it and come back next year…

Joe Jonas

August 12th, 2010
11:48 am

At least Brooks Conrad is a serviceable 3rd baseman. I don’t see too much of a drop-off plus we can always move Omar over there when Prado’s back at 2nd. Two good options!

Bravesfan

August 12th, 2010
11:48 am

Pryncess

August 12th, 2010
11:48 am

nooooooooooooooooooooooo….i was going to my first game to see him this weekend too!! :-( (((

kibby

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

sucks! i hope he comes back from this, even for just one more year.

dap01

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

Rehab and come back. What is the rehab timeframe for an ACL?

RemoW

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

What a crappy way for a spectacular career to end!

Old Boy

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

At his age, don’t they shoot them for that injury? Or is that horses?

Jay H.

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

andy

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

I bet they move the old man from 1st to 3rd and bring up freeman

The Grinch

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

Maybe he’ll pull a Kirk Gibson for us in the playoffs.

Brad in Jasper

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am

Not good news. BUT. We have capable backups in Conrad and Infante. No team is immune from injuries. If anyone can handle it it should be the Braves, who we’ve heard ad nauseum this season that they are a TEAM with no real superstars. Chipper is a skilled, experienced hitter who will be missed, but up until recently has had a sub-par season or two. Again, not good news, but not the end of the world.

BraveFan

August 12th, 2010
11:50 am

Go hunt and enjoy retirment

Scott

August 12th, 2010
11:50 am

At least he went out on a great play I guess. This sucks for him and for the Braves.

JTAT

August 12th, 2010
11:50 am

No, it can’t be. If it is, he must come back at least one more season. This is no way to end an awesome career. Get well soon CHIP!

GO BRAVES —->>

Pryncess

August 12th, 2010
11:51 am

Two ACL tears are the hardest to come back from. I had two also and my knee is still not the same. I never played sports again after the second one.

third strike

August 12th, 2010
11:51 am

WOW….. that was a thunder cloud heard around Atlanta? Or was that the Phillies cheering????

Praying for Chipper. He has been my favorite Bravo since the draft over Van Poppel. Go BRAVES!

Chipper Come Back

August 12th, 2010
11:52 am

This just means Chipper can pull a Kirk Gibson on us in the World Series

Ted Turner

August 12th, 2010
11:52 am

Terribe News. Chip was just rounding in to form. He’s been the face of the franchise and is a sure hall of famer.

NickGranite

August 12th, 2010
11:52 am

Damn, he was hitting the ball with some authority lately. Good luck Chip.

Casey

August 12th, 2010
11:53 am

Such a promising season too… I don’t really think they can overcome this one! Conrad is ok but only in spots. He’s not an everyday player. The Braves need to make a move or play for the wildcard. Either way, the season is not going to end the way we’d hoped!

Turtsnap

August 12th, 2010
11:53 am

OH NO! That sucks. Sort of reminds me of the whole Smoltz thing now. I hate it for Chipper

Rebeldawg

August 12th, 2010
11:53 am

Hey, if they can win one for the Gipper they sure as hell can win one for the Chipper!

I Hate Troy Glaus (formerly I Hate Liberty Media)

August 12th, 2010
11:53 am

Ted Turner,

Please buy our team back.

Jhey for ROY

August 12th, 2010
11:53 am

Brad in Jasper

August 12th, 2010
11:49 am
Not good news. BUT. We have capable backups in Conrad and Infante. No team is immune from injuries. If anyone can handle it it should be the Braves, who we’ve heard ad nauseum this season that they are a TEAM with no real superstars. Chipper is a skilled, experienced hitter who will be missed, but up until recently has had a sub-par season or two. Again, not good news, but not the end of the world.

No superstars…..yeah McCann is only the best catcher in the NL….and Prado is only having an MVP Season…..and Hudson is having a CY Young type season….and we have one of the best closers in the game…..and probably the NL ROY….but yea no superstars…. :)

Chris

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

I know we have serviceable replacements but does anyone think we might make a trade to get an everyday man?? We have been good b/c we have our depth and can move Infante/Hinskie/Conrad around? Maybe move Glaus to 3rd and call up FF?
Thoughts?

Bob Horner had a big fro

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

This is a really tough break for Chipper, Bobby and the Braves. I don’t see Conrad being able to replace Chipper on a night-to-night basis. Maybe Glaus moves back to 3rd, but his knees are so bad, he can’t bend very well at first, much less third base. The best option will be Infante at second and Prado at third, or maybe we trade at this point. I hate to give away a stud prospect, BUT we are in first place, and it is mid-August. You can’t just shrug this off and expect things to work out in the end with the existing line-up.

Florida Evans

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

damn…Damn…DAMN!

Fred

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

It’s a huge loss for the team, and even bigger threat to Chipper’s career. Hang in there, u know who.

Although it wasn’t injury-related, remember that we lost Otis Nixon in September of ‘91. He was a huge part of that offense. That season turned out pretty well if I remember correctly. Gotta keep the faith.

N8

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

Not the way I waned Chipper out of the 3-hole. Still needed his bat somewhere in the lineup.

Love ya Chipper

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

congrats on a very solid career! thanks for the clutch hits, the laughs, and the WINS – your winning percentage must be ridiculous…

Most of all – Thank you for being a role model for my kids.

Godspeed Mr Jones!

Tremaine

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

Career OVER WITH!

Jhey for ROY

August 12th, 2010
11:54 am

Casey

August 12th, 2010
11:53 am
Such a promising season too… I don’t really think they can overcome this one! Conrad is ok but only in spots. He’s not an everyday player. The Braves need to make a move or play for the wildcard. Either way, the season is not going to end the way we’d hoped!

We are still in 1st place you fing dolt.

MJ

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

MOTHER @#$^%!@$^)&_)!&*()!&$*(^*&@^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WDE

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

That’s the last we’ve seen of our beloved Chipper.

Matt

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

Phillies have NO excuses now after we kick their @$$

TPM

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

Who is going to replace his 10 home runs?

Respect Chipper

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

Chipper is and has been the leader of this team ever since our 3 aces departed. He has done a good job and has had some great numbers in a few of the last seasons. I think Chipper will be missed for much of the off-the-field leadership that he provides and the guidance that the younger guys seek. As a long time Braves fan (circa 1984) I would place Chipper Jones up there with The Murph and Bob Horner.

TennesseePaul

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

Sorry to hear that Chipper. Hope this is a quick recovery and return to glory.

And if you do feel like sliding in a Kirk Gibson this October, go right ahead.

Moonlight Graham

August 12th, 2010
11:55 am

Possible scenario:
1. Loughlan replaces Chipper on the 25 man and shores up the outfield
2. Glaus goes to his normal position at third
3. Hinske to first

Isn’t the best but may be what’s available.

robz747

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

If it was his last play it was heck of a defensive play, and his last hit was a double!

I dont see him coming back from this, I’d say if he did the earliest we would see him would be the around the all star break next year!

BTW – Ty Wiggington hit waivers today n plays 3rd amongst other positions…..

Captain Midnight

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Bring back Horner!!

Casey

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Jhey for ROY

Get back to me at the end of the month…

Jhey for ROY

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Infante Prado Heyward McCann Hinske Glaus Gonzalez Ankiel P spot. This will be a great lineup….and Prado will finally get more RBI chances……

Jhey for ROY

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Casey

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am
Jhey for ROY

Get back to me at the end of the month…

Way to be positive negative nancy.

Matt

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Otis Nixon??? He was good, but he was no Chipper. And he did it to himself because he couldn’t lay off the blow.

andy

August 12th, 2010
11:56 am

i miss having otis and deon on the team!!!

len

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

Insurance should pay for anouther bat?

GT Fan

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

Well, looks like all those folks who said Infante shouldn’t have been an All-Star because he wasn’t a starter will get to see what he can do as a starter. Or would the team possibly bring Freeman up and move him back to 3B for the rest of the season?

Either way, it hurts our depth, and it really stinks for Chipper. If he hadn’t started hitting, he could probably retire and feel pretty much at peace with it. Now, he’ll have to debate whether to retire or try to come back from surgery. Coming back from surgery could be difficult, especially at his age, but, if he retires, I’m sure he’ll wonder if he had at least another year or two in him.

N.B.

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO,NOOOOO!! THAT HURTS SO BAD! HE WAS ON A ROLL

Michael Jack

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

Yahoo Yahoo Yahoo

Blackberry Cobbler

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

Sad, sad news. If I were him, I’d call it done.

Wren and Booby better get their thinking caps on now and figure out how to boost this lineup. The Gonzalez and Ankiel deals ain’t gettin’ it done and Glaus has turned into an occasional 1-hit wonder not to mention he plays 1st like his feet were in cement.

Ted Turner

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

I hate Troy Glaus,

I wish I could, but I get f—ed in the Time Warner deal. Just running my Bison Grills now.

jdub

August 12th, 2010
11:57 am

Don’t be surprised to see the Braves shopping on the waiver wire. Conrad and Infante are good players, but they are more effective as utility players. They both add depth to the bench, so IMO they need to search for a 3B.

Get well soon Chip

Bill Buck

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

If it turns out that Chipper is lost for the season, then I think the logical thing to do is switch Troy Glaus back to his old familiar position at 3rd base (where he was a gold glover, if I recall) and then bring up Freddie Freeman to play first and add some more pop to the lineup.

Tami

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

TERRIBLE news! OMG!! Makes me sick to my stomach thinking about all the hard work he’s going to have to go through. If his recovery time will take him well past spring training 2011, and I were him, I’d just call it a career. I’d hate for him to go out this way, though. The rest of the NL is quietly partying up a storm, for sure. Darn!

Well…we’ve got Brooks. But now we need someone else, and FAST! This sure does stink, though.

McCann Fan

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

Prado fills right in when he comes back, but that’s a huge presence to lose as playoffs approach. Someone mentioned Kirk Gibson earlier–that would be AWESOME! Keep him on the postseason roster if he can swing a bat.

Hate to see a career possibly end like that but what a play! At least if that was the last play of his career it was one of his best defensive plays maybe ever.

Todd

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

Thanks Chipper!

Jhey for ROY

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

For all of you saying Glaus to third….guys…he can barely run out a single……and you want him at the hot corner???? Do you guys even watch Braves baseball??? Or are you just looking at the fact he use to play 3rd base.

Lenny Dykstra

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

HGH would have prevented that

rc35

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

This is not the end of the season, but it is a hurdle that must be overcome. I think the first reality is that the Braves can’t keep winning with a CF batting like a pitcher and a 1B living on memories of May. I’ve never jumped on the Freeman bandwagon before (I still remember Jack Pierce all too vividly), but the day Chipper DL’s, Freeman should come up. If Ankiel doesn’t start hitting at least .250 during the Dodger series, I think the Braves need to sit him down and just face the fact that we’ll have to depend on Diaz/Hinske, Cabrera, and Heyward to “Git ‘er done,” with Infante in reserve.

Brian

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

Serious question: Can you swing a bat with a torn ACL? Stick a heavy brace on him and let him platoon with Glaus at 1st base if so. I’m sure he doesn’t want to let this be the end and would fight through the pain.

Chipper against RHP and Glaus against LHP. Would be a good combination if possible, no?

CFB Fan

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

I say move All Star Omar Infante over to 3rd base and with him and Prado in the lineup, we’ll have that much more POP!!! Let’s go Braves!!!! I hate to see Chipper go down though.

Josh

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

Time for Brooks to step up. He will be better defensively. Let’s just hope he can keep hitting.

Donny Corleone

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am

Does insurance pick up the salary if he can’t come back next year?

Ted Turner

August 12th, 2010
11:59 am

If I was still calling the shot, I’d tell Bobby to call up Freeman and platoon him with Glaus to give us another left-handed power bat. Infante and Prado can cover 2B and 3B.

Roy Halladay

August 12th, 2010
11:59 am

Happy Halladays

SirReal

August 12th, 2010
11:59 am

Oh well….he’s not the same player. We did better w/o him at this point in his career. Got respect for him but all signs point to moving in a new direction. What a storied career.

Tami

August 12th, 2010
11:59 am

P.S. I agree with GT Fan. Time to bring up Freddie NOW. Move Infante to spot Conrad at 3B. Have Freddie spot Glaus at 1B. Freddie’s bat will sure help too.

Matt

August 12th, 2010
11:59 am

It’ll be sad if his career ends this way… but honestly? strangely appropriate.

Donny Corleone

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

May free up some money. (OK, I’m being mercenary here).

CHollie Manual

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

Woohoo Yeah Hooray

Harmon Killebrew

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

Bobby Cox is a third baseman.

Jhey for ROY

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

Bill Buck

August 12th, 2010
11:58 am
If it turns out that Chipper is lost for the season, then I think the logical thing to do is switch Troy Glaus back to his old familiar position at 3rd base (where he was a gold glover, if I recall) and then bring up Freddie Freeman to play first and add some more pop to the lineup.

Another person who obviously doesnt watch Braves baseball….

kd

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

I hate it for chipper he was really starting to hit well!

Pryncess

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

Brian, seeing that your knees are part of your swing, I would say that’s a bad idea!!

bravesfaninnc

August 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

Terribe News. very bad news .We are very lucky that we have conrad.With that said losing chipper will hurt.Can we still try to get Jose Bautista, ? Also I’m not medical expert my question is i know with ACL you can’t put put weight on it right?. But can’t Chipper still hit and then let some run for him?

CHase Utley

August 12th, 2010
12:01 pm

Yes YES YES… we will agin be the world fngin chanpions

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