Judge dealing with 2nd ailing ligament in toe, gets PRP injection

June 16th, 2023

BOSTON -- Aaron Judge received a second platelet-rich plasma injection in his right big toe during Thursday’s off-day, as the reigning American League Most Valuable Player’s return date remains uncertain.

Judge’s latest course of treatment addressed continued discomfort in the toe, which he injured while making a terrific catch at Dodger Stadium on June 3. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the injection was targeted at a different ligament than his first PRP shot, which he received on June 6.

“My understanding is, the ligament should heal over time,” Boone said. “Any time you strain or tear in the ligament, it takes time to heal that. PRPs hopefully speed that process up. Hopefully, he’s continuing to move in the right direction.”

The Yankees have said that Judge was diagnosed with a contusion and sprain of the toe, and that doctors ruled out a fracture. Judge has continued traveling with the team and appeared to be moving around better in the clubhouse on Wednesday at Citi Field.

“We feel like he was [improving], but that other part of the joint or the toe was still giving him some problems after the first PRP,” Boone said. “To get in and hit the other parts of it hopefully is something that speeds that up.”

Boone said the next steps in Judge’s rehab would be advancing into range-of-motion strengthening, allowing him to perform pool work and balancing exercises. Judge will perform no baseball activities for at least 48 hours, Boone said.

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said this week that Judge’s situation is “a rare injury for a baseball player.”

“A sprained toe, like a turf toe, I think it’s common in football probably with running backs,” Steinbrenner said. “I don’t know how common it is in baseball. But clearly it was from the impact of the wall, more than something that happened over time. … The trainers are working on range-of-motion with the toe and then all the other fancy stuff they have to reduce swelling. The good news is, he’s getting slightly better every day, not worse.”

The Yankees are reluctant to issue a concrete timetable for Judge’s return partly because of the events following his right wrist fracture in a July 26, 2018, game. At that time, the club estimated a three-week recovery for Judge, which proved overly optimistic; Judge didn’t return to the lineup until Sept. 14 of that season.

Asked if Judge could return before the July 11 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, Boone said: “I think there’s a shot for that. That said, I don’t know. I mean, I think he could be back in a week. He could be back in four. I don’t know. We’ve got to get to a point where we’re starting to move the ball from a physical activity or baseball standpoint. Hopefully, this latest PRP is part of that, speeding this process up, but we’ll see.”

In recent comments about his toe injury, Judge said, “There’s a couple of things going on in there.” He added: “Once it starts feeling better, then you can start progressing to doing some walking around baseball stuff and moving around. I think we're just kind of waiting on a lot of the inflammation and swelling to go down.”