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Jonathan Schoop injury: How long will the Orioles second baseman miss?

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Although early reports of Schoop's return to the lineup were unclear, expect the Orioles 2nd baseman to be back on the field before the All-Star break.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe one day I will write about something positive that happens with the Orioles...but for now I guess I'll stick with covering injuries.

The injury

Grade 1 PCL tear and MCL sprain

Expected recovery time

6-8 weeks

What is the role of the PCL and MCL?

Both the PCL and MCL play important roles in stabilizing the knee joint at rest and with movement. The PCL is responsible for preventing the tibia (shin bone) from sliding behind the femur (thigh bone), while the MCL helps prevent the knee from buckling inwards. During everyday movements such as walking, the knee joint is subjected to multiple forces in different directions, and it is the role of the MCL, PCL, and other structures to help keep the knee in its proper place.

Now that we have taken care of the formalities, I'm going to do my best to try and translate some of the information out there about Schoop's injury.

Quote: "Schoop has a grade 1 PCL tear and MCL sprain"

Translation: "Schoop has a small tear/sprain of his PCL and tear/sprain of his MCL."

When discussing a ligament, the terms sprain and tear actually mean the same thing. Sprains/tears are graded on a scale of 1-3 with 1 being a minor tear and 3 being a full tear. To put things in perspective, if you are playing basketball and lightly sprain your ankle after 360 dunking over your friend, the majority of the time that would be classified as a grade 1 ankle sprain. So, although the word "tear" is scary from a fan's point of view, keep in mind that Schoop's PCL tear is relatively mild. In terms of Schoop's MCL sprain/tear, the Orioles did not release details about the severity of the injury.

Why will Schoop be out 6-8 weeks?

Typically, an athlete with a grade 1-2 PCL tear/sprain should be ready to return to sports within 2-8 weeks after the initial injury. If Schoop had only suffered a grade 1 PCL tear/sprain, it is more likely that his rehab would have fallen on the shorter side of the 2-8 week range. However, the presence of the MCL sprain (unspecified grade) complicates matters a little more.

Since the Orioles haven't officially reported the severity of Schoop's MCL sprain/tear, let's just assume that it is not completely torn (grade 2). The reason I'm assuming it's not completely torn is because the team said Schoop would not be undergoing surgery. Although surgery is not always performed on completely torn MCLs, surgery is most likely the best option in the long run for a professional athlete. Again, if Schoop had suffered only a grade 2 MCL sprain/tear, his projected rehab time would still be between 6-8 weeks.

Now, when we consider the injuries together the rehab process actually won't change all that much. By definition a grade 1 tear/sprain of the PCL shouldn't decrease the stability of the knee and shouldn't impact the recovery of the MCL too much. Early in the rehab the focus will still be on reducing the swelling, gaining back any range of motion that has been lost, and protecting the injured areas. As the rehab progresses, Schoop will go through exercises focusing on strengthening and stabilizing the knee joint. Although the PCL injury shouldn't reduce the stability of the knee, the rehab process will still have to be progressed carefully to avoid over stressing either of the healing ligaments.

When can I expect to see Schoop back in the lineup?

One important point to clarify here is that 6-8 weeks is the rehab time for Schoop's knee, not how long he will be out of the lineup. At this point it is difficult to guess how long Schoop will be on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues and when we will see him back in the lineup. However, given that I get paid the big bucks to provide injury information to the dedicated followers of the Orioles, I feel obligated to face this challenge head on and provide you with an answer. Since playing second base requires a lot of cutting and twisting, I think Schoop's rehab assignment could last a few weeks and that we won't see him back in the lineup until the Orioles play the Cleveland Indians on June 26th.

Hopefully this provides a little insight into Schoop's injury. If you have any more questions feel free to leave a comment or tweet it to @Dschwartz_PTs