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Ryan Howard believes he may have torn Achilles’ tendon

Oct 8, 2011, 2:30 AM EDT

Ryan Howard

As if Ryan Howard making the final out of the season for a second straight year wasn’t painful enough for Phillies fans, there’s a chance he could be sidelined when his five-year, $125 million extension kicks in next season.

According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, Howard believes he may have torn his left Achilles’ tendon while attempting to run out a ground ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday’s Game 5 loss to the Cardinals. The 31-year-old first baseman went down in a heap as soon as he got out of the batter’s box and wasn’t able to continue running as Nick Punto easily threw him out at first base to end the ballgame and the Phillies’ season.

“I was trying to run, and I just felt this pop,” Howard said. “The whole thing just went numb, like it was on fire. Just tried to keep going, and went down. It literally felt like I was on a flat tire. I tried to get up. Couldn’t go.”

Howard has dealt with bursitis near the tendon for most of the second half of the regular season and was given a cortisone injection prior to the playoffs. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but if the Achilles is indeed torn, surgery could cost him a sizable chunk of the 2012 season.

We have plenty of time to talk about what this could mean for the Phillies moving forward, but if Howard needs to miss a couple of months, we could see John Mayberry Jr. fill in at first base while Domonic Brown gets a chance in left field.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    The bad news continues to pour in. Is bad enough that Howard played poorly and choked this whole series, with the exception of Game 1. But now he faces a potentially horrific injury. He may be having the worst night out of all of us.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:46 AM

      Just to add something about Howard. He did choke and it has become apparent he isn’t a playoff caliber player. But, you will not find a more likeable human being on and off the field. His charisma and likability is why many of us defend him to the degree we do. We want him to succeed because he he so likable as a person. But, in Philly, that will only take him so far at this point. People are starting to call for his head. I guess they will have to settle for his Achilles.

      • deathmonkey41 - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        Howard might have to move on to a more forgiving fan base. He’s just too laid back and nice of a guy to play under the scrutiny in Philadelphia. But just like A-Rod, he did not choke alone. There’s plenty of blame to go around on both rosters.

  2. hueylewis - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Looked real bad when they carried him off the field. What a disaster that would have been if he got a hit, especially in the gap.

    Achilles injury would keep him out until Aug. 2012. Could jeopardize his entire 2012 season depending upon the damage.

  3. umrguy42 - Oct 8, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    Much as I enjoy the Cards win, I hated to see that injury. Not pretty, and I wish him a speedy recovery, and that he returns to his best (except whenever he plays the Cards, of course).

  4. seeingwhatsticks - Oct 8, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    So the Phillies’ Achilles heel actually hurt his Achilles? That’s a crazy metaphor.

  5. cptnew1 - Oct 8, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    All the best big guy. Come home to StL and see whichever surgeon, shaman, witch doctor, acupuncturist or wizard that fixed Alberts wrist this year. Offer cigars and rum.

  6. Walk - Oct 8, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    I tore my achilles when i was 16. I tried to stand and just fell over, could not take any weight at all. It took me a year and a half before i was pushing off on my right foot properly though i was playing again before that. Hopefully ryan recovers quicker than i did.

    • antlerclaws - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Tore mine about 3 years ago and still limping. Can’t do a lot of things I used to do. Achilles injuries suck. At least he has the benefit of having the best in sports medicine has to offer, unlike myself.

  7. frankvzappa - Oct 8, 2011 at 7:21 AM

    When Howard came up all I could think of was the “sad Ryan Howard” frenzy from last year, and I wondered if he could top it. This, however, is the complete opposite of last year. As in, horribly unfunny. Kind of took away from the glee I should have been feeling from watching the Phillies get eliminated 24 hours after the Yankees.

    • frankvzappa - Oct 8, 2011 at 8:54 AM

      Somehow, “Torn Achilles Ryan Howard” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  8. chc4 - Oct 8, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    I am 7 months out from surgery to repair a complete achilles rupture. Starting to jog and play tennis again but it’s not close to 100%. The tendon itself is ok. Bigger problem is loss of muscle mass in my calf and quad from 13 weeks in cast and on crutches. My doc says it’ll be a full year before it feels normal. Of course Howard will have access to a rehab regime most yahoos like me don’t.

  9. uyf1950 - Oct 8, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    It’s really unfortunate about what happened to Ryan Howard. Seeing it on TV you can’t help but feel bad for the guy. Hopefully when the test come back they show it’s not as bad as it looked or as bad as some are speculating about. I wish him well.

  10. dbick - Oct 8, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    He needs to get to South America and order the Bartolo Colon special.

  11. nikesparq - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Howard was nonexistent this entire postseason. I feel bad for you Philly fans paying him that money to perform when he’s supposed to.

  12. notsofast10 - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    No comments on Phillie Fan booing immediately after Howard made the last out and went down in a heap????? I heard them and was shocked!

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:43 AM

      Booing the result and team in general…doubt it was specifically aimed at Howard. Though with the venom that has been directed his way over the past year plus, maybe it was. Which would be a shame in my opinion. I hope he doesn’t take the brunt of what I’m sure will be a significant basklash of anger. He is a good dude. Answered every question the media posed last night while on crutches…while Rollins and Victorino refused to speak. Takes character to do that.

    • Panda Claus - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:26 PM

      No shock really. Many Phillie fans start booing when they get out of bed in the morning, then boo periodically throughout the day. It’s a similar phenomenon to when old people drive all day with the left turn signal on and don’t notice it.

      This is meant as tongue-in-cheek commentary, with no harm meant for a sensitive and hurting Philadelphia fanbase. Don’t worry things will get better.

  13. Clinton Manitoba - Oct 8, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Walk it off champ….err um whatever you are..

  14. 78mu - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Being from St Louis, Howard has a lot of fans and no one wanted to see him go down like that. When he is on he is a pleasure to watch as that swing effortlessly smacks the ball over the fence.

    But this injury puts into perspective the danger of long term contracts like the extension Howard got and how it makes teams look at Albert. Howard’s 25 million a year contract is the floor for Pujols since it’s no one seriously argues Howard is the better player. Pujols deserves more money but it is hard to think of going more than five years and even that is risky. Who wants a Soriano contract weighing down the team’s payroll? That could just as easily been Pujols going down last night instead of Howard and that has to be a scary thought for teams that want to sign him.

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