ANAHEIM, Calif. — Anthony Rendon, speaking publicly for the first time in two months, revealed Friday that he has been diagnosed with a fractured tibia by doctors outside the purview of the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have consistently described Rendon’s injury as a deep bone bruise.
Asked why the Angels didn’t initially announce his injury as a fractured tibia, Rendon said, “You gotta ask them.”
Angels general manager Perry Minasian didn’t respond to a request for comment. A source close to the team told ESPN that Rendon initially saw four doctors – two chosen by the Angels, two chosen by Rendon’s side – that diagnosed him with a deep bone bruise. A fifth doctor diagnosed him with the fractured tibia. Rendon, who didn’t provide details on the process, said the fracture diagnosis occurred while the team visited his home town to play the Houston Astros during the second week of August.
Rendon’s agent, Scott Boras, said Rendon’s doctors and the Angels’ medical staff have nonetheless been “in line” with his treatment plan, denying that there is a disconnect between the two sides.
“We talked about when he did it, how bad the bone bruise was, that it’s similar to even what a fracture is,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “Bone bruise, fracture, either way, he’s unable to play right now, and we’re trying to get him back to where he is.”
Rendon, 33, initially suffered the injury while fouling a ball off his lower left leg in San Diego on July 4 and has only started to take part in light baseball activities in recent weeks, hitting off a tee and doing some light running exercises. If Rendon doesn’t return before the end of the regular season – a long shot, given that the Angels’ final game is two and a half weeks away — he will have played in 148 of a possible 486 games from 2021 to 2023, previously going on the injured list with issues in his hip, groin, hamstring, knee and both wrists.
Rendon is still owed another $114 million over the next three years. Asked if he plans on playing next season, Rendon, who has been sarcastic and dismissive of the media since joining the Angels, was non-committal, merely saying that he is taking it day by day. Asked why he didn’t speak out sooner in order to combat public perception from fans who question his desire to play, Rendon said: “I don’t care. They don’t know the facts.”
A source within the medical field told ESPN that the treatment plan and the return to play is similar for a deep bone bruise and a fractured tibia, though the timelines within Major League Baseball have varied. Andre Ethier suffered a fractured tibia while with the Los Angeles Dodgers in March of 2016 and missed nearly six months; Tommy La Stella had a fractured tibia with the Angels in July of 2019 and missed three months.
Nevin said he isn’t concerned about how the diagnosis might impact Rendon’s offseason or his availability for next year.
“I don’t look at it that way,” Nevin said. “He’s ramped up everything he’s done in there. The treatment for the bone bruise, under my understanding – bone bruise, fracture, to the degree that it is, all treated the same, and the rehab is all the same. It’s not a bone that’s coming out of the skin. It’s something that is manageable under his pain tolerance. Obviously it’s a painful thing; I’ve said that all along. This is an extremely painful deal for him. But he’s gotten past, at least, that point, and he’s able to do some things on the treadmill and on the bike, he’s doing some baseball activities. The encouraging part is he’s feeling a lot better. Either one, whatever it is, it was gonna treated the same either way.”