Larry “Chipper” Jones of the Atlanta Braves is officially out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Chipper Jones was injured while making a great defensive play for the Braves against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, August 10th. After the game Tuesday, and before the MRI confirmed the team’s worst fears, Chipper had this to say:
“It’s hurt,” he said. “I heard a distinct pop. I don’t think it’s my ACL because when I did it before it sounded like my knee exploded. It sounded like the whole stadium could hear it pop. While I did hear it pop, it wasn’t the same pop.”
The Atlanta Braves currently hold a slim 2 ½ game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East standings. Chipper is the unquestioned veteran leader of the Braves, as he is playing in his 20th season (spent 3 in the minor leagues). This injury not only ends Chipper’s season, but may very well end his career. Chipper Jones went through a rough early part of the season where he suffered through a lot of nagging injuries and contemplated retirement. Chipper went on to say:
“Any more talk of the R-word will be reserved until the end of the season, Somehow the cork got taken out. Well, I’m putting it back in right now.”
As many athletes have suffered the same injury over the years, it always seems to be the same sound, a loud popping sound that signifies a devastating injury. Athletes have also gone on to say that it typically takes 2 full years to recover from an injury of this magnitude.
After this injury, it seems as if now, there is no question of his retirement. It would be highly unlikely that if Chipper does decide to return, the Braves would have a spot for him. He will be 39; coming off a tough knee injury, in the midst of a 3 year / $42 million dollar contract, under a new manager with Bobby Cox retiring at the end of the season, and the Braves will be looking towards the future and going with youth.
Currently, Chipper is batting .265 with 10 HR and 46 RBI. For his career, he has a .306 batting average with 436 homeruns (37th all time and 4th among active players). His 436 career home runs place him 3rd all time among switch hitters behind Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray.
If this is truly the end, Chipper had a great run. He will go down as one of the greatest Atlanta Braves of all time and almost a sure fire lock for the Hall of Fame.
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