Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. to miss rest of season with torn ACL; Reigning NL MVP injured knee running the bases

Atlanta Braves outfielder and reigning National League Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuña Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2024 season after an MRI revealed a complete tear of his ACL, the team announced on Sunday night. Acuña suffered the injury, on a non-contact play, while running the bases Sunday during a game against the Pirates

The Braves initially characterized the injury as left knee soreness, but that proved to be overly optimistic. 

Acuña had compared the injury to the ACL sprain he suffered in 2018. He missed a month that season. He won’t be as fortunate this year. As for Sunday’s injury, here’s a look at what happened: 

And here’s another angle: 

Acuña appeared to plant his left foot in an effort to redirect back toward second base and then collapsed in obvious pain. He was down for some time and left the game as he was experiencing discomfort in the area of his left knee. 

Of note is that in 2021, Acuña suffered an ACL tear in his right knee – an injury that cost him roughly half of that season and then a sizable portion of 2022. Three years prior came the aforementioned ACL strain in his left knee. 

Prior to going down, Acuña had a batting line of .246/.348/.356 with four home runs in 48 games. He’s coming off a 2023 season in which he hit 41 home runs, stole an MLB-leading 73 bases, and compiled a WAR of 8.2. While Acuña hasn’t performed in line with expectations thus far in 2024, his loss is crucial one for the Braves, who trail the Phillies in the National League East by six games.

The Braves will, obviously, have to make a roster move before their game on Monday against the Washington Nationals. As it stands, Adam Duvall is the only reserve outfielder on the roster. They do have two other outfielders stationed in Triple-A who are on the 40-man roster, in J.P. Martínez and Forrest Wall; utility player Luke Williams also has outfield experience. Beyond that, the Braves may need to look outside the organization between now and the trade deadline to replace what they can of Acuña’s production.

Acuña is the second major loss for the season for the Braves, who, earlier this year, saw ace Spencer Strider go down for the season to elbow surgery.

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