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Reyes injury remains a mystery

How will Jose Reyes perform in 2010?

How will Jose Reyes perform in 2010?

As the Mets season dwindles away, our lasting image of Jose Reyes is, well, what exactly? And that’s perhaps the most damning part of the shortstop’s season.

The utter nothingness.

For the most part Reyes has been a ghost around the Mets recently -- his locker still has a uniform and clothes hanging -- but he’s nowhere to be seen.

And truth be told it’s probably better off that way right now. Otherwise, he would have to attempt to make some sense about his lost season and the injuries behind.

Remember when Reyes first went down with soreness in his calf in May, he referred to it as a one-day injury? That was many, many days ago.
Yes, the Mets goofed by not automatically putting him on the disabled list the second they heard their speedy leadoff hitter say it was his leg, and we’ll never know if -- and how much -- their delay in doing so set Reyes back. But what we know now is that Reyes is at an indisputable turning point of his career.

We can’t call him an injury-prone player, not when he played in all but 15 games in the previous four seasons. Yet no one can say for certain when he returns next season he’ll back to the same player he used to be. How can anyone be sure of that after the way he disappeared into the abyss this season?

What’s undoubtedly troubling is the fact that more than three months have gone by since Reyes went down and it’s still somewhat of a mystery about what specifically ails him.

The last official reasoning the Mets gave was Aug. 5 when they said an MRI revealed “significant scar tissue and inflammation behind the right knee.” That statement attributed the pain to a “hamstring tendon injury” that Newsday’s David Lennon reported today is a tear.

We hear a lot about hamstrings and about tendons in sports, but rarely do we hear about hamstring tendons. The most notable case of a New York baseball player who suffered a torn hamstring tendon is Jorge Posada, yet his injury didn’t even send him to the disabled list.

This happened in May 2006 and Posada initially thought the strap to his shin guard was causing the pain in the back of his knee. An MRI revealed the torn hamstring tendon, and Brian Cashman was quoted that day saying, “This is not a tendon from what is described to me that he needs to function with. We just have to wait for the swelling to go down before he could play. How long that is, I don't know.”

That was May 25, 2006. Posada returned to the lineup May 29 and played 105 more games that season.

It’s not fair to compare and contrast when it comes to players with the same injuries, because there’s no way of knowing the full extent of the injuries unless we compare the MRIs.

But what is completely reasonable is to wonder, in the wake of his awful season marred by leg injuries, what kind of player will Reyes be when he returns next season? And what kind of effect might this injury have on him physically, and mentally?

These are questions neither Reyes nor the Mets know the answer to.

The answers could go a long in deciding the team’s fate in 2010.

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