Season-Ending Knee Injury Sidelines Braves’ MVP Ronald Acuña Jr.

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In a disheartening turn of events for baseball fans, Atlanta Braves’ standout Ronald Acuña Jr. has been announced out for the remainder of the season, due to an unfortunate knee injury. Acuña, the reigning National League MVP, suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Sunday’s triumphant 8-1 victory against Pittsburgh.

The unfortunate event unravelled when Acuña, who had already kicked off the game with a double to right-center field off of Martín Pérez, made a stolen base attempt with Marcell Ozuna at the plate. What started as a routine move quickly took a tragic turn when Acuña’s knee buckled under the strain, leading to his collapse on the field. Observers could only watch with bated breath as Acuña remained down for several nerve-wrenching minutes while receiving medical attention, pointing at his left leg before he finally managed to walk off the field unaided.

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Originally, the team’s medical staff had hoped the diagnosis would be a simple case of left knee soreness. However, as the day culminated in an MRI scan, it was confirmed that what Acuña had experienced was a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament – a grim diagnosis that meant a compulsory end to his season and the necessity of surgery.

Notably, this injury comes after Acuña experienced a similar calamity on July 20, 2021, when he faced an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee. The 26-year-old outfielder, seen wearing a brace in the clubhouse after Sunday’s win, revealed that this recent injury felt less severe to him. Downplaying the severity, he was quoted saying, “(I) don’t feel that painful, any pop or anything. … Don’t think it’s that bad.”

Recalling the unfortunate moment, Acuña explained how he was looking to seize the third base, anticipating a slow throwback to the mound from catcher Joey Bart. But the throw ended up being faster than he’d expected, forcing him into an abrupt pivot back to second base, which resulted in his knee twisting awkwardly.

Acuña, a four-time All-Star with a notable batting average of .250, has made a compelling contribution to the Braves’ success with four homers and 15 RBIs in the 49 games he played this season. Beyond numbers, Acuña’s impeccable form marked by charisma and verve, and his exceptional performance last season, hitting a career-best .337 with 41 homers and 106 RBIs, will be a hard void to fill for the Braves.

To add to the Braves’ woes, the team is already grappling with the absence of All-Star right-hander Spencer Strider, whose season was abruptly halted on April 13 due to internal brace surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Moreover, with the third baseman Austin Riley being day-to-day with a left intercostal strain, and catcher Sean Murphy continues his stay on the 10-day injured list with an oblique injury sustained on opening day, the team is navigating through rough waters.

In a poignant statement before the results of Acuña’s MRI were announced, manager Brian Snitker encapsulated the heartache experienced by the team, but more importantly, by the player himself. “It’s just something that everybody goes through,” Snitker said. “Personally, I just hate it for the young men that it affects more than us. When something happens to those guys, I hate it for the individuals more than us, quite honestly.”