Josh Naylor was writhing in pain Sunday afternoon after a violent collision with Ernie Clement.
It was clear right away he suffered a serious injury.
The word after the game was that the Cleveland Indians outfielder suffered some sort of fracture.
Monday provided a further update on the severity of the injury.
Josh Naylor suffered "a closed fracture and dislocation of the right ankle" on Sunday. He'll travel back to Cleveland today. He'll be evaluated later this week to determine the extent of the injury and timetable for an operation.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 28, 2021
We now know for certain Naylor will need surgery on this fracture and dislocation of his ankle.
The good news from this update ultimately is the fact he is able to head back to Cleveland.
A Terrible Sight
It is easy as a fan to expect players to go out there everyday and be regular fixtures in the lineup without disruptions.
Then injuries hit and shatter that idealistic view.
It is not like Naylor is the first Indians player to go down with an injury this year.
However, he is the first to suffer one that is hard to watch.
Any MLB player being carted off a field means something terrible happened.
Josh Naylor suffered a closed fracture and dislocation of the right ankle yesterday.
He remained in Minnesota last night while the team traveled back to Cleveland. pic.twitter.com/tcxKeziu82
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 28, 2021
One person to keep in mind throughout all of this, aside from the obvious in Naylor, is Clement.
He was just trying to make a play and looked distraught once Naylor was on the ground.
And if he faces an eventual demotion, he cannot let any thoughts creep in that it happened because of the Naylor injury.
It was simply a case of bad luck and was obviously not intentional.
A Rise Put On Hold
The official word on Naylor’s injury should mean we are not seeing him again on the diamond until 2022.
Even if he could return at the end of the year, the Indians should have a more concrete outfield plan in place by then.
Also, it may be foolish to rush a 24-year-old back onto the field after such an intense ankle injury.
If Naylor’s season is done, he finishes it with 69 games played and a WAR value just above 0.0.
While some fans may have been frustrated with his slow performance this year, he only had 233 at-bats.
The former 2015 first-round pick of the Miami Marlins is still in the early stages of his MLB development and the Indians must see a big future for him considering he was able to land a full-time job out of spring training.
His OPS of .700 was not spectacular, but was still a nice sign from a young player who flashed some power with seven home runs.
Naylor is still early in his team control years and has shown steady improvement.
The hope now is he can take the necessary time to recover and return in 2022 feeling fresh and good on the injured ankle.
In the meantime, the Indians will continue to shuffle in players in both right and center field.
Making a trade wouldn’t hurt either, in case anyone in the front office happens to stumble upon this article.
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