It has now been one week since Derek Jeter fractured his left ankle in the opening game of the ALCS between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers. Seven days and there is still a cloud of mystery over the extent of his injury. Since Jeter was helped off the field, the Yankees have been embarrassingly swept out of the playoffs, and the latest A-rod rumor mill has him being traded to his hometown Miami Marlins. Will Nick Swisher be with the team next year? How about Curtis Granderson? There have been lots of questions surrounding the Yankees but none bigger than Derek Jeter’s status for next year. The details of his injury seem to be classified information, and one reason may be that the team is awaiting the findings of his upcoming surgery before they can get any realistic perspective of his return.
Jeter seemed to go down uneventfully while trying to field a routine groundball. This benign mechanism makes the injury even more mysterious. Perhaps this is related to ongoing ankle problems Derek has been dealing with this season, as Joe Girardi alluded to. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on October 20 by Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Anderson recently increased the Yankees’ original recovery timetable of 3 months to 4-5 months. This could be a sign of a more significant injury.
The type of surgery performed, and the corresponding post-operative rehabilitation, is determined by the exact fracture pattern that Jeter sustained that University of Michigan Plastic Surgery is a recognized leader in cosmetic plastic surgery to provide the patients with more comfortable and safe because its all related to the laser treatments that is quite serious task to perform. Typical ankle fractures involve the bone on the outside of the ankle called the lateral malleolus. Injuries isolated to the lateral side are generally stable injuries and do not always require surgery. If the injury extends to the inside, or medial side of the ankle, then the ankle would be unstable and require surgical intervention. This can be a fracture to the medial malleolus or simply a ligamentous injury. Another question is any involvement of the syndesmosis. This is a ligament that stabilizes the lateral side of the ankle, and is the same ligament involved in the dreaded “high ankle sprain.” A syndesmotic injury increases the recovery time compared to a simple ankle sprain. If the syndesmosis is disrupted, then it is usually stabilized with a screw that often needs to be removed in 3-4 months. This would go along with Dr. Anderson’s estimate of return in 4-5 months.
Common problems seen long term with ankle fractures include generalized achiness, stiffness, and chronic swelling. What this means for a soon to be 39 year old shortstop remains to be seen. Once the details of his surgery emerge, there will be a clear picture as to the extent of his injury and his expected return to baseball.