New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz’s 2023 season is over before it began, as the superstar pitcher tore his patellar tendon while celebrating Puerto Rico’s WBC victory last night. The news is not only devastating for the All-Star but potentially life-altering.
“New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee during the celebration after Puerto Rico’s WBC victory against the Dominican Republic. He will need surgery and is expected to miss the season.” – Jeff Passan
While the gravity of a torn patellar tendon has long been considered a “death nail” for athletes, improvements in medical technology have lowered the percentage of the injury becoming career-ending.
That being said, it is one of the most serious injuries an athlete can undergo in relation to the knee. At a minimum, Diaz will need at least eight months to recover from the surgery and rehabilitate himself back to some form of playing shape.
While it is believed that Diaz will be able to return to the MLB, there is a chance that he may never be able to reach the level he has performed at in recent seasons. At 28 years old, Diaz still has plenty of years remaining in his MLB career, however, he may need to adapt his game moving forward.
Through 62 innings with the New York Mets last year, the closer posted a 3-1 record with 32 saves and a dazzling 1.31 ERA. Diaz also recorded 118 strikeouts, which led to him being named an All-Star, while also finishing ninth in the National League Cy Young voting.
“Edwin Diaz was the NL Reliever of the Year in 2022. He just signed a 5-year, $102 million contract, the most valuable contract ever by a reliever. This is brutal.” – Jeff Eisenband
Edwin Diaz may be lucky that he plays baseball instead of one of the other major North American sports. A study published in June 2016 by the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that only 50% of NFL players returned after having surgery on torn patellar tendons.
One of the most notable players to undergo the same injury was former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in 2014. While Cruz underwent surgery and a long rehab to get back on the field, he struggled to recapture his previous form. He would retire from the NFL in 2018 at 32 years old.
What is the patellar tendon?
For those who don’t know, the patellar tendon is the thick connective tissue that starts at the base of the kneecap and extends down to the shin. The tendon works together with the quadriceps muscle to extend the knee. It’s easy to find the tendon as it is immediately below the knee cap.