Mariano Rivera has knee surgery

Updated: June 13, 2012, 11:42 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

ATLANTA -- New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera underwent surgery Tuesday morning to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

A Yankees spokesman said the operation "went as planned.'' The club offered no timetable for Rivera's recovery, but the 42-year-old right-hander has said he plans to pitch for the Yankees next season.

"I think we're all expecting to see Mo pitch next year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Braves. "I really don't think we're going to see anything this year."

Rivera, who suffered the injury while shagging fly balls during batting practice on May 3 in Kansas City, was operated on by Dr. David Altchek, the New York Mets' team doctor, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

According to a statement released by the Yankees, Rivera had "an isolated repair on his torn ACL." Nothing was done to repair a torn menisicus in the same knee that Rivera also suffered in the incident at Kauffman Stadium.

Girardi said he did not know if that meant the meniscus was not actually torn.

"I didn't ask," he said. "They told me they didn't repair it, and that's good enough for me. I think the less you have to do, the better off you are. I think that's good news."

The following message was posted Tuesday afternoon to Rivera's Twitter and Facebook accounts: "My surgery was a success, it went perfectly. I am looking forward to beginning my rehab soon. Thanks as always for your prayers. God Bless."

Rivera was uncertain whether he would be able to pitch again on the night he suffered the injury. But he announced the following day that he would "definitely'' be coming back in 2013.

The surgery was delayed for more than a month after a blood clot was discovered in Rivera's right calf, a delay that could set back the timetable for his return to action. Girardi still isn't sure when Rivera will be able to resume baseball workouts.

"With a lot of guys, it's whatever their bodies allow them to do," Girardi said. "They can give you a timetable, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's gonna be before or after. They just kind of give you a timetable. I think we expect him next year.

"I'm sure Mo's anxious to get going. He was feeling pretty good when he was walking around before the surgery. So I think it's the initial shock of the injury that's the hardest part, then you kind of get your mind focused on coming back."

Rivera appeared in nine games this season, recording five saves and a 1-1 record with a 2.16 ERA. He is baseball's all-time leader with 608 saves compiled over 16 seasons as the Yankees' full-time closer.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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