ANAHEIM — Kendrys Morales’ much-anticipated return to the Angels will have to wait until next year.
Morales announced Wednesday that he has elected to have a second operation on his injured left ankle, which he broke last May 29 while jumping on home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run. The surgery will force Morales to miss the rest of the season.
“It’s definitely a challenge for us,” Angels general manager Tony Reagins said. “Not having Kendrys is a big part of what we do in the middle of the lineup, so it’s definitely a significant blow for us. But having been able to go through the season last year without Kendrys, I think the team has learned how to deal with his absence and move forward.”
Dr. Thomas O. Clanton, whom Morales saw for a second opinion Tuesday, will perform the operation in Vail, Colo., at a date yet to be determined. Reagins said the operation would take place “as soon as possible.” Clanton previously served as team physician for the NBA’s Houston Rockets and NFL’s Houston Texans, but is currently the director for Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine at the Steadman Clinic.
“I knew the road back … there were going to be issues along the way,” said Morales through a translator. “Obviously I wasn’t ready to have surgery again, but at this point I think this is the best decision for everybody involved to get me back 100 percent as soon as possible.”
Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum said the objective of the surgery will be to clear out the lingering scar tissue and debris in the ankle. Yocum also said Morales is suffering from degenerative cysts.
“Kendrys has worked as hard as any athlete I’ve ever worked with trying to come back from a devastating injury,” Yocum said. “He hasn’t been able to do it. And we’re trying to gear up for next season, and one of those options was to address it aggressively with a surgical procedure, and try to clean up the ankle. Get him as much motion as possible in there. Get rid of the discomfort for him if we can, and try to get him back and ready for 2012. And Kendrys has accepted that challenge and is going to go ahead with the surgery.”
Yocum said that the fracture has completely healed, but Morales is dealing with the secondary changes that occur after a major fracture and dislocation.
“It’s one of those consequences of a devastating injury,” said Yocum, who added that he expects the rehab process to take a minimum of six months. “A fracture-dislocation of the ankle in any athlete, in any individual, is a serious injury.
” … The initial blow when he hit the plate was a devastating force, and that was transmitted through the entire ankle. We saw some of the changes with the fracture. Some of the changes are secondary and are starting to show up now, and that’s what we’re dealing with.”
Yocum said that due to the seriousness of Morales’ initial injury, a second surgery is not a surprising move.
“We’re very disappointed and feel bad for Kendrys,” Yocum said. “But it’s not totally unexpected.”