Ruben Tejada suffered a broken right fibula after a vicious "slide" from the Dodgers' Chase Utley that dramatically shifted the outcome of Game 2. Although he is gone for the rest of the postseason, what can we expect Tejada's recovery timeline to look like?
What is the injury?
The fibula is the smaller of the two shin bones and is located on the outside part of the shin. Its primary role is to provide stabilization for the ankle, as many ligaments attach to it; these ligaments prevent the ankle from rolling during walking and running.
What is the expected recovery time?
You can expect Tejada to be sidelined for about 4-6 weeks before he can begin to starting running again. A closer look at the play showed that Utley's forearm hit Tejada's fibula above the ankle joint, which is probably good news for the recovery process as the ankle joint is likely stable. If the injury occurred at the level of the ankle, then the rehab would be a lot more complicated and take a much longer time. The good thing about this injury is that the fibula is a non-weight-bearing bone so recovery time is considerably shorter than a normal fracture in the leg.
The Mets will likely take the conservative route and place Tejada in a boot with crutches to avoid putting additional stress on the fracture site until the bone has completely healed. The length of time in a boot is pivotal to his length of recovery as muscle tightness and joint stiffness increases the longer Tejada is in the boot. Once the boot is taken off, rehab will focus on regaining strength and mobility of the ankle, calf, and foot. Given the timing of the injury, Tejada and the Mets can take their time to make sure there is no setback as Tejada should be good to go for spring training. He may miss the beginning of winter ball if Tejada wants to play—for rehab purposes—during the offseason. Once the recovery is done, the fibula should be just as strong as it was before the injury.