DETROIT -- Jose Cabrera has played through a torn groin and a broken foot among the numerous injuries in his career. On Wednesday, he remained stunned that his biceps injury was as bad as it is, a tear that will require season-ending surgery.
"I'm like in shock right now," Cabrera said, "because I'm not going to be able to play anymore this year. It's tough. In the same way, I have to go and fix it and try to come back healthy."
Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Altchek will conduct surgery to repair the tendon on Thursday in New York. From there, the plan is for Cabrera to rehab in Detroit, rather than at home in Miami or at the team's Spring Training facility in Lakeland, Fla., so that he can be around the team as well as the Tigers' medical staff. It was a mutual decision, head athletic trainer Doug Teter said.
"I'm going to be around here," Cabrera said. "It's tough to get out of the way. I want to still feel part of the team."
Though Cabrera has been through his share of injuries the past couple years, this is by far the most severe, and the first to end his season prematurely. A right ankle sprain ended his 2010 season with about a week to go, but the Tigers were well out of contention by then, and had an expanded roster.
This is different. While the Tigers never looked at this as a contending season, they've been outperforming expectations and playing an entertaining brand of baseball. Cabrera missed most of May with a hamstring strain before struggling to find his timing in June, but still batted .299 with an .843 OPS that pointed toward a rebound.
Cabrera knew something was amiss when he felt the strain following through on a third-inning swing Tuesday, and that it was probably something bad. But he didn't expect a season-ending injury, and an unusual one for a baseball player at that.
"He apologized to [Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire]," said Teter, who broke the diagnosis to Cabrera. "He feels bad for the team. It's a common thing when somebody gets hurt, a season-ending kind of injury, where they think they're letting the team down. You see it over and over. You get through that first acceptance of the injury, and then you push forward through the rehab with the goal of coming back. That's all you can do."
Among the rare cases of such a surgery in baseball are former Tiger Dean Palmer, though he was still in the 20s. Older players to return from it include former slugger Mo Vaughn, who was 33 when he had the surgery and came back for a full 2002 season, and Hall of Famer Tim Raines.
The timetable, Teter said, usually involves a return to full range of motion within six weeks, then work on regaining strength.
"On this particular injury, with the people that we've talked to and we've referenced, it looks like about six months out is when he'll be able to start baseball activity," Teter said. "You have general timelines you want to stick to, but you take the rehab and injury as it comes, and you move forward with what the body gives you. There's going to be bad days. There's going to be good days."
Wednesday, for obvious reasons, was not a good day.
"I have to saddle up, have to stay positive, move forward with what the doctor's going to say," Cabrera said.