Any Tigers fans who were holding out hope that Victor Martinez might be able to recover from his ACL tear in time to make a late-season contribution can move on to other dreams now.
Martinez underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last Friday, according to several reports, with doctors also repairing his medial and lateral meniscus. The procedure to reconstruct that torn ACL won’t take place for another six to eight weeks. That effectively ends any chance — which was slim to begin with — of Martinez playing for the Tigers in 2012.
Of most concern is that Martinez’s knee injury was far more serious than originally diagnosed. The initial ACL tear that was thought to take him out for the season hasn’t even been repaired yet. The microfracture and meniscus repair procedures had to be done first.
Microfracture surgery has been a difficult procedure for many athletes to recover from. Carlos Guillen and Clete Thomas both took a full year to come back, and neither one has recovered to full strength as of yet.
In other sports, Chris Webber was never the same player after microfracture surgery. And while Amare Stoudamire has come back to be an effective player, he had to change his game as he was nowhere near the explosive dunker he used to be.
Fortunately for the Tigers, they don’t need Martinez to dunk a basketball during the final two years of his contract. However, with the kind of damage sustained to that left knee, it’s not unreasonable to question whether or not Martinez will be at full strength for spring training in 2013. But since there’s now no doubt that Martinez is out for 2012, he can get as much rest and rehabilitation as he needs without trying to push for a quicker comeback.
UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reported that he's been told Martinez is expected to be ready for 2013, despite the microfracture surgery. In fact, Martinez's knee could be even stronger, as the procedure to repair the medial and lateral meniscus took care of wear and tear that had developed.