Doctor offers possible timeline for Aaron Judge return
It appears New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge may not play again until after next month’s All-Star break.
“Sometimes bone bruises and sprains can be hard to heal,” Dr. Spencer Stein, a sports orthopedic surgeon, told Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com about Judge’s latest setback. “Typically it takes about two-to-four weeks for a normal sprain to heal, but those can get re-injured. If Aaron was my patient or my player, I would definitely have a slow and guarded progress to return.”
Judge suffered what’s been called a ligament sprain and contusion on his big right toe when he made a highlight-reel catch in this past Saturday’s 6-3 win at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player ultimately landed on the injured list but is eligible to return as soon as next Wednesday.
Fans shouldn’t expect to see the 31-year-old in the lineup that quickly.
“The best-case scenario is typically about two weeks of healing and then returning to sport somewhere up to four weeks,” Dr. Stein said about Judge’s recovery. “That would be a grade one sprain. Grade two would be a partial tear and grade three would be a complete tear, and those definitely would take longer to heal.”
Based on the timeline, Miller suggested Judge may remain sidelined until the Yankees open the second half of the season at the Colorado Rockies on July 14.
Judge completed a stint on the IL due to a right hip strain earlier this spring. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post explained, the Yankees went 4-6 without the four-time All-Star selection during that stretch.
Per ESPN stats, Judge began Thursday sitting second in all of MLB with 19 home runs on the season and first with a 1.078 OPS.
“I’d probably give it at least two weeks and then get back into training and see how he does,” Dr. Stein added about Judge possibly playing sooner than July 14. “From my understanding, there’s a piece of concrete on the base of the (Dodger Stadium) outfield wall, so it’s possible Judge stubbed his toe pretty severely and caused this type of injury.”
The Judge-less Yankees (36-26) began Thursday trailing the first-place Tampa Bay Rays (45-19) by eight games in the AL East standings.