Could Jose Reyes Be Out for the Season?
The official word from Mets.com is that Jose Reyes has been diagnosed with “tendinitis in calf” (that’s the actual headline). From Mets.com:
The MRI showed that Reyes has tendinitis behind his right calf and he is officially listed as day-to-day.
As usual, we are getting mixed signals and mysterious information from the Mets in regard to an injury. I don’t blame the medical staff, but rather the people acting as the filter between the doctors and the public.
First of all, I didn’t think it was possible to have “tendinitis in the calf”. The calf is a muscle, not a tendon, right? There is one major tendon “behind the calf”, and that is the achilles. Most people who have been around sports long enough know that an injury to the achilles is a major problem — something that could put an athlete out of action for 3-4 months, possibly longer. Knowing the history of incomplete information the Mets have provided us in the past, there’s every reason to suspect that Reyes’ injury is in fact “achilles tendinitis”, but they’re not telling the public that — partially so they don’t lose leverage in any trade negotiations.
But, I’m just a semipro athlete and semipro blogger with outrageous suspicions and conspiracy theories. To put my mind at ease, I spoke with Dr. James Gladstone, a sports medicine specialist in the Department of Orthopaedics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who received sports medicine training under Dr. James Andrews at the American Sports Medicine institute in Alabama. He has extensive experience in sports injuries, from muscle strains, tendinitis and other overuse injuries to acute ligament tears and joint dislocations.
Now, to be clear, Dr. Gladstone IS NOT treating Jose Reyes and has NO CONNECTION to the Mets. I merely asked him to provide some background information on the calf, the achilles, and the associated muscles and tendons in that area of the leg.
According to Dr. Gladstone, the calf is indeed muscular:
“It’s actually a group of muscles. There are two layers, the gastrox and the soleus, which is deeper. And there is a whole set of smaller muscles that go down to help them — extensor flexor, there’s the posterior tibialis … so, yeah, there are a whole bunch of them. But the main ones are the gastrox and the soleus, which join to form the achilles tendon further down.”
Dr. Gladstone did confirm that there are tendons behind the calf muscle,
“… a tendon attaches muscle to the bone … every muscle has a tendon”.
I asked if an injury was described as “tendinitis behind the calf”, is it possible that the injury would in fact be “achilles tendinitis”. His answer:
“Achilles tendinitis is so well known that it probably would be called that. We don’t know where it is in the calf, so it could be the upper portion of that muscle where it attaches to the back of the knee.”
When I asked Dr. Gladstone if it could be something OTHER THAN the achilles, his answer was
Further, even if it Reyes does have achilles tendinitis, it’s not something that would cause grave concern:
“When you look at people who have had achilles tendon tears, over 85% of them have never had ANY achilles tendon symptoms. Achilles tendinitis is NOT part of the spectrum that goes on to rupture. So that’s generally not something we worry about.”
Armed with this information, my fears that Jose Reyes could tear his achilles and be out for the season have been quelled. The conspiracy theory is out the window, and the Mets will probably be fine with finding a temporary stopgap at shortstop, be it Ramon Martinez, Argenis Reyes, or some other low-cost, short-term solution. So if Danny Murphy can handle first base and start hitting again, there’s every reason to believe that the Mets don’t need to make any major acquisitions — unless you think replacing Alex Cora counts as “major”.