A.J. Ellis A.J. Ellis A.J. Ellis

What Is The Typical Timetable For A Meniscus Tear?


The question that came up on twitter last night was exactly how long A.J. Ellis would be out with his torn meniscus. Someone had told Dylan Hernandez that A.J. would be back in 4-6 weeks, but I don’t think that’s realistic. Is it possible? Sure, but not likely.

This play really screwed poor A.J., and all of us-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This is actually the same knee that A.J. had a minor tear in a couple of years ago. That time the club described it as a cleanup procedure. The second time around is normally worse. Sometimes the club isn’t very forthright with injury news, and they’re usually pretty hush-hush because hilariously handsome writers tend to jump the gun and declare the player out for the season. (Points finger at self). But we know that A.J. was having knee pain, and receiving treatment after the last few games. So since A.J. has to have a second surgery on the same knee, what kind of recovery time are we dealing with?

I don’t want to turn this site into Lasorda’s Lair general hospital, or LL, M.D. but since we’re trying to figure out a timetable here for poor A.J. we’ll check out the available information from a trusty source. So what’s a Dodger writer with zero medical knowledge supposed to do? Google it of course.

Please note if you’re trying to find happy news on goggle about meniscus tears, you are out of luck. Google was not kind to poor A.J.’s knee. I did find out that there is a lesser procedure for more minor tears, but I’m guessing A.J.’s is not minor. There is a minor procedure called a meniscectomy. The timetable for a  meniscectomy is about 3-4 weeks. According to webmd, the timetable for the repair surgery is 4-6 weeks just for walking and having full range of motions, The timetable for returning to sports or heavy activities for athletes is about 3-6 months. Months people, not weeks. This is major knee surgery.

Time needed to return to activities
ActivityUncomplicated meniscectomyMeniscus repair surgery
Bear weight (put weight on your kneewhile standing or walking)Right away, as toleratedRight away, but only with a brace
Walk without crutches2 to 7 days4 to 6 weeks
Drive, if the affected leg is to be used for gas and brake or for clutch1 to 2 weeks, if:
  • You have regained motion with minimal pain.
  • You are not taking narcotics.

4 to 6 weeksRegain full range of motion1 to 2 weeksBending is typically restricted to not more than 90 degrees for first 4 to 6 weeks to allow the meniscus to heal.Return to heavy work or sports4 to 6 weeks, if

  • You have regained motion and strength.
  • Your knee is not swollen or painful.

3 to 6 months

The meniscus is shaped like the letter C, and is a part of cartilage that acts as a cushion for your knee joints. It acts as a shock absorber, and is tough and rubbery. Or so I read. Here’s to hoping A.J.’s is extra tough and rubbery.

The website for the American academy of orthopedic surgeons has the recovery time for the repair surgery listed at three months, and I think that’s the best case scenario.

So there is the lesser procedure called the meniscectomy and then there is the full repair surgery. A.J. is having the full repair surgery.

I had to ask someone who has medical knowledge, so I asked VietnameseIceCream, also known on twitter as VND. twitter.com/VNDtoLAD. I believe she’s in residency, so she would know more than we do. I asked her how long the timetable is generally for a second surgery on the same knee.

Apparently it’s hard to make a proper diagnosis on this type of injury. But she added….

However there may be hope, as she also said that recovery is normally pretty good.

As much as this pains me to say it, we have to face the stark realities that A.J. Ellis is going to be out for a while. Probably months instead of weeks. Could he be back in six weeks? Sure he could, but it’s unlikely. This all doesn’t sound good. I just want to prepare everyone for the truthful possibility that he might not be back this season at all, or at least until after the all-star break.

Until then the Dodgers will just have to survive with a catching tandem of Tim Federowicz, and Drew Butera.