Acuña out for '21 season with torn ACL

July 11th, 2021

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his right ACL and will be out for the season after surgery to repair it, the Braves announced late Saturday night.

Atlanta’s 5-4 win over Miami on Saturday at loanDepot park lifted the Braves to .500 on the season, but it was a costly one.

Acuña exited the game in the bottom of the fifth inning after attempting to corral a ball off the bat of Jazz Chisholm Jr., who ended up with an inside-the-park home run on the play.

The Braves were able to hang on to their lead, largely in part to Freddie Freeman's second homer in as many days in the top of the fifth inning, but after the game, the club was left wondering about the severity of the injury to its star outfielder as he underwent tests, which we now know is a worst-case scenario.

Acuña leapt after chasing the ball down in right field, but wasn't able to make the catch and came down awkwardly. He then stumbled, hit the outfield wall and collapsed onto the warning track.

After an extended period being tended to by training staff on the track, Acuña was able to stand and walk part of the way off the field under his own power but with a notable limp. However, he was in clear and significant pain and had to sit down once again close to the foul line, eventually being carted the rest of the way to the tunnel.

Showing visible emotion, Acuña was placed into a wheelchair and taken into the visiting clubhouse for further assessment by the medical team.

Starter Max Fried, who allowed three runs on nine hits and earned his first career win against Miami, was able to complete the inning with no further damage after the delay. 

“You never like to see one of your teammates try to make a really great play and then come up injured,” Fried said. “Obviously, we could tell that he was going through some pain. It’s obviously unfortunate when you see one of your best players go down, but you just try to stay focused on the task at hand and try to close it out.”

Acuña was voted an All-Star starter this year by the fans, and led the National League in the fan voting phase, but will now miss the game being held this week at Coors Field.

“You never want to see one of your teammates go down like that, especially being in pain the way he was,” said shortstop Dansby Swanson. “That’s never a good sign. But we’re hopeful and praying for a quick recovery with whatever the diagnosis [is].”

Chisholm briefly enjoyed his inside-the-park homer, but reality quickly kicked in with the seriousness of Acuña’s injury.

“I was feeling kind of sad,” Chisholm said. “Before the game, we were talking about who was going to hit a home run today. For it to come at that expense, it kind of sucks for me and him in a way, because the way that I got my home run is because he got hurt."