Garrett Richards has been nothing short of a saint to the Los Angeles Angels this season. One of the more dominating pitchers in the American League this year, Richards has a record of 13–4 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts. The 26-year-old has also allowed a league-low 0.3 home runs per 9 innings.
While covering first base on a potential double play against the Red Sox on August 20, Richards' cleat got caught on the edge of the first base bag, causing his knee to buckle. He was carted off the field and it was learned later that he suffered a torn patellar tendon. As shown below, the patellar tendon serves as a connection from the bottom of the patella (knee cap) to the tibial tuberosity, as well as the connection of the quadriceps tendon toward the top of the leg.
A complete tear of the tendon results in an the inability to straighten the leg completely; as the tendon has completely torn apart from the tibia. In many cases, when the initial tear occurs, the tendon can also break off a piece of the patella as well, but luckily such was not the case for Richards. The surgery simply put for the injury requires for the surgeon to move the tendons to the side to examine the femur for damage and then attaching the tendon back to the bottom of the knee cap with anchor sutures.
Richards will be in some sort of cast or brace and will only be able to apply weight on his leg with crutches or a walker in four to six weeks from now. The rehabbing will start then, and for about six to 12 months Richards will work to strengthen his quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
In the case of the rest of the Angels, they are leading the AL West by two games but will need pitching help to assist in the final stretch of the season. The waiver deadline is approaching fast and GM Jerry Dipoto must make a deal. Suitable trade pieces include Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill, and Mets veteran right-hander and former Angel Bartolo Colon.
Without pitching depth in the playoffs, the Angels will burn out quickly. If they want to succeed in the playoffs, they must make a trade.