BOSTON -- Ronald Acuna Jr. created some hope as he rose from the ground and walked off the field without any assistance. But as the Braves exited Sunday afternoon's 7-1 win over the Red Sox, there was still some concern regarding the young phenom's left knee.Acuna's status remained unknown as
BOSTON -- Ronald Acuna Jr. created some hope as he rose from the ground and walked off the field without any assistance. But as the Braves exited Sunday afternoon's 7-1 win over the Red Sox, there was still some concern regarding the young phenom's left knee.
Acuna's status remained unknown as the Braves were waiting for the results of an MRI exam that was performed at a Boston-area hospital around the time the game ended. He was in a wheelchair when he boarded a commercial flight from Boston to Atlanta late Sunday evening. Even if Acuna didn't suffer significant damage, the Braves don't want him putting pressure on the knee. A diagnosis might not be made until Braves doctors evaluate Acuna on Monday.
Acuna injured his left knee as he completed his sprint to record an infield single during the seventh inning. After crossing the bag, his left leg buckled in a gruesome manner and he immediately fell to the ground, where he remained while being attended to by members of the Braves' medical staff.
Just as a Red Sox employee was nearing first base with a wheelchair, Acuna stood up and walked with a limp toward the Braves' clubhouse.
"I just like the fact he walked off, because when he did it I was thinking about what Bryce Harper did last year," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It looked real similar. We'll know more later."
Until the results of the MRI exam are revealed, there will be some concern about the possibility Acuna injured either his anterior cruciate ligament or his medial collateral ligament.
This was the same initial fear the Nationals had when Harper was injured in a similar manner in August. But instead of what would have been a season-ending injury, the former National League MVP was fortunate to be diagnosed with a bone bruise that sidelined him for six weeks.
"It's not something you like to see, especially on a routine ball hit to short," Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz said. "Then [Acuna] beats it out like that with that hustle. We're praying for him. It was amazing to see him walk off like that. We were all shocked to see that."
Since making his Major League debut on April 25, Acuna has consistently displayed the five-tool talents that have earned him status as baseball's top prospect per MLB Pipeline. He has endured some growing pains at the plate recently, but has hit .265 with five homers and a .779 OPS through his first 29 career games.
If Acuna is sidelined, the Braves will likely give the left-field job to Preston Tucker, who filled the role on an everyday basis through most of the season's first month.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.