On Wednesday, the other shoe dropped. Five days after Carlos Correa was injured, the Astros announced that he had surgery to repair a fractured fibula and "minor" damage to a ligament. GM Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich that, "We expect him to go through a rehab process and return to exactly the point he was at when he got injured. … According to the doctor it went perfectly. Everything that was an issue was repaired.”
Correa injured his right ankle while sliding into third base safely during Lancaster’s game Saturday at Lake Elsinore. Correa hit .325 in 62 games for Lancaster with 16 doubles, six triples, six home runs and 57 RBIs.
This weekend, Correa's injury created a mini-panic on Twitter. My reaction was more muted. While I was disappointed, nothing about the speculated injury Saturday nor the actual news of what he hurt caused me to doubt his ability to bounce back.
There's a precedent for a player coming back from an ankle/leg injury and still playing at a high level. There's multiple cases, in fact. But, the one I immediately thought of was Anthony Rendon.
The summer before he was drafted, former Rice superstar Anthony Rendon hurt his ankle badly playing for the U.S. National Team. There were broken bones, ligament damage, the whole nine yards. It was also the second major injury he'd suffered to his ankle in his career.
That caused him to slip in the draft, from probable No. 1 overall pick, who's wrists were compared favorably with Henry Aaron, to No. 6 overall. Because his agent is Scott Boras and because he was drafted in 2011 when there were no draft bonus pools, the injury concerns only cost Rendon roughly $800,000, as he signed a four-year, $7.2 million deal with the Nationals while 1-1 pick Gerrit Cole signed for $8 million.
Now, Rendon has made the majors and is currently the best position player the Nationals have. He's played second base, moving back to third after a Ryan Zimmerman injury. He's good defensively and showing both power and defense. According to the projections, he should finish with All-Star-caliber numbers, totaling 4.4 fWAR in his first full season in the majors.
Despite two severe injuries to his ankle, Rendon has still stolen six bases. He made the majors two years after being drafted. He missed some time, but it didn't affect his prospect status or his future potential.
Rendon's situation is basically the worst-case scenario for Carlos Correa. With Rendon, it was a second injury. With Rendon, there was significant ligament damage.
Correa's not in that situation. Luhnow categorized the ligament damage as "minor." Maybe he's downplaying it. But, it's worth pointing out that even at its worst, this injury doesn't hurt Correa's chances of becoming one of Houston's best players in two years.