The Boston Red Sox are scraping in the AL East, so the news that their catcher needs to have surgery to deal with torn cartilage wasn’t welcome news. Jason Varitek has been a stalwart behind the plate for the Red Sox this year and his disappearance from the daily line up will hurt.
The funny thing is that torn cartilage is a misnomer. The proper term is a torn meniscus. The meniscus sits between the knee and the thigh bone and provides cushion for the pressure placed on the knee joint. Jason tore the meniscus in his left knee, which leads to pain and the inability to place full weight on the join.
Boston manager Terry Fracona said:
He was examined yesterday morning and they found, I guess, a partial tear in the meniscus. We’ll know, certainly, a lot more on the timetable after they go in and get him cleaned up.
What does he mean by cleaned up? Well, surgeons will open up Varitek’s knee and begin work to repair the meniscus through arthroscopoic surgery. They do this by trimming the affected area and trying to repair the meniscus. If they cannot do this they will remove the affected tissue, but this is a final decision.
What are the symptoms of torn cartilage? Pain and the inability to put weight on the knee. Since the meniscus provides stability to the joint, almost any movement will hurt the affected knee.
How long will it take Jason Varitek to come back and play? It depends on the severity of the injury. If it’s a simple tear he could be back in four weeks. If it’s more drastic it might be as long as eight weeks. All indications point to this being a mild tear that the doctors feel they can correct before the end of the season.
How do you rehabilitate a torn cartilage? Seeing as the meniscus doesn’t heal quickly, it’s important to rehabilitate by movement and flexibility exercises. The timing of the exercise is critical, as too much will reinjure the area. Due to the fact it’s arthroscopoic surgery Jason will be able to start rehabilitation quickly.
You want to void at all costs pushing the schedule too much.
Our guess as to when Jason Varitek will be back: September 3, 2006.