Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. to have knee examined Monday in Los Angeles after MRI

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Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. will have his sore right knee examined Monday in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the doctor who did reconstructive surgery on the torn ACL in that knee in July 2021, a team official said Saturday. An MRI on Friday revealed irritation around the meniscus in Acuña’s knee.

Acuña was scratched from the Braves lineup for Friday’s spring training game, which at the time the team categorized strictly as a precautionary measure and indicated the reigning National League MVP could be back playing within a couple of days. But that outlook changed after an MRI was done later in the day.

While the Braves remain optimistic that Acuña will be ready by Opening Day, much will depend on any further tests and evaluation by ElAttrache. If arthroscopic surgery is done to repair the damaged meniscus, Acuña could miss at least a few weeks, seemingly making a return by Opening Day doubtful.

If the irritation can heal on its own, the timetable could be significantly shorter. And the Braves and their fans don’t even want to think about the possibility that more tests could reveal additional damage.

While it could turn out to be little more than soreness from the irritation, the fact that the Braves are flying Acuña across the country to have the knee examined by his surgeon will cause some alarm among Braves fans, who remember how lingering soreness affected Acuña in 2022 in his first season back from surgery.

An argument could be made that no MLB player is more important to his team than Acuña, their dynamic leadoff man and right fielder, is to the Braves. They won 104 games and their sixth consecutive NL East title last season before losing to the Philadephia Phillies in the NL Division Series, and the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are the top teams in the majors according to most 2024 preseason surveys and power rankings.

The Braves led the majors in almost every major offensive category in 2023, and Acuña was the proverbial straw that stirred the drink. He became the fifth member of the 40-40 club (at least 40 homers and 40 stolen bases) and the first in the 40-50, 40-60 and finally, 40-70 club. He finished with 41 home runs and a majors-leading 73 stolen bases while batting .337 with an MLB-best .416 on-base percentage and NL-leading 1.012 OPS.

Acuña, who turned 26 in December, was a unanimous selection for NL MVP, receiving all 30 first-place votes.

He played winter ball for about one month in his native Venezuela and reported to camp in good shape and with no apparent physical ailments or limitations. Acuña was involved in a rundown between second and third bases in a game Thursday, planting and retreating several times before stopping and being tagged.

Neither he nor the Braves have said if that’s where he might’ve irritated the knee, or if it was more a result of generally increased activity in the early stages of spring training.

Required reading

(Photo: Tyler Schank / Clarkson Creative / Getty Images)





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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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