Jung-Ho Kang Undergoes Surgery, Out 6-8 Months

PITTSBURGH – Jung-Ho Kang left the game with an apparent left-knee injury in the first inning this afternoon, after Cubs’ right fielder Chris Coghlan slid hard into Kang’s legs attempting to break up a double-play.

Kang was unable to put any pressure on his left leg as he was assisted off of the field by the Pirates’ training staff.

Will update as more information becomes available.

UPDATE 2:00 PM: Pirates indeed confirm that the injury was to Kang’s left-knee. He is currently being evaluated and treated and the Pirates will provide more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 7:01 PM: Kang went for an MRI after the game, but the results aren’t known yet. His agent, Alen Nero, released a statement on his behalf:

“It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury. That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played. I’m confident he meant me no harm. I appreciate everyone’s support.”

The “serious injury” part doesn’t sound good. There are no results to the MRI that have been made available by the Pirates, so hopefully this isn’t revealing the actual results, as that sounds like a bad result. – Tim

UPDATE 7:10 PM: Josh Yohe and Dejan Kovacevic are reporting that Kang is to undergo knee surgery tonight, and will be out for the year. The injury is reportedly a “fractured tibial plateau, as well as a torn MCL and torn meniscus in the knee”, according to those two. Other sources have followed up this report saying Kang will have surgery tonight. – Tim

This is obviously a big blow for the Pirates, since Kang has been one of their best hitters, both tonight and all season.

UPDATE 10:47 PM: The Pirates announced that Kang underwent surgery this evening at AGH. He had “an open reduction/internal fixation of a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture with a lateral meniscal repair.” The estimated time for return to competition is six to eight months. Best case, that puts him back right in the middle of Spring Training next year, and the long range has him missing the first month and a half of the 2016 season. – Tim

  • Take out slides should be stopped. The cost is too high. If they stopped collisions at home . It can be done at 2nd.

  • Terrible injury and the baserunner should be ashamed of himself. Plus, somebody should have got drilled.

    That said, the wild mood swings in the Asylum are always more rosy or more gloomy than they need to be.

    The pick up of Ramirez and the return of JHay are now really big for us and we’ll have to make do. I don’t count the Bucs out of anything right now.

    The real trouble I have with this is that knee injuries are kind of forever. Once you open a knee, there’s no going back. Kang may (may) suffer a career where that knee limits him now and forever. I hope for the best, but somebody oughtta take out that baserunner for real. There should have been some retaliation with the very next batter.
    “Ah-ha! So Rocky’s hidin’ in the stove, eh?”

  • Not really happy about this. The team will either respond positively or continue to regress. I am hoping this will not impact his range. Kang was a very enjoyable player to watch. Cubs have a swagger that will be tough to stop.

  • What a bunch of bullshit this is. MLB protects catchers but allows someone to go three to five feet out of the baseline to injure a player at second base and its called good base running and not intentional because they are trying to breakup a double play. Oh please, what a bunch of outdated shit. Do you want to see careers ended over this? It could happen when this is allowed to flourish under the guise of good baseball. No more of this crap. Jordy, now Kang. It has to stop.

  • A lot to digest over the past 4 games, but all in all I’m disappointed in Clint Hurdle this week. Not just for management of the personnel in terms of lineup construction and substitution – but in this moment when one of the two best players on your team gets taken out for the year – you don’t even defend him. You defend the opposition and say it’s a good play. If he hadn’t lost the team with his poor decisions before yesterday, I’d guess he’d lose them after that.
    I’ve been a huge fan to this point, but now frankly I’m on the fence. He needs to find a way to regain the teams trust or this may just be the beginning of a long slow decline.

  • He slid SIDEWAYS into 2ND base! With leg raised! I can’t even see why there is debate about this slide! Call interference on these as they should and this is far less likely to happen.

    • I really do not understand the reluctance by so many to call this a dirty and dangerous play which resulted in such a serious injury. His legs were not stacked, he was out of the base paths and the intent was clearly to use the upper knee as a point of contact on Kang. Coghlan’s “sorry he was hurt” BS ignores his own reckless action. The ‘net is full of commentary by ex-major league players talking about the lack of respect and skill in today’s game when it comes to sliding…the hard take out slide that doesn’t injure is a lost skill.
      An intentional knee on knee hit like this is a penalty and grounds for fine and suspension in all other professional sports. Stand up for your players Clint Hurdle.

      • I feel the same way but it seems like nobody in the baseball community agrees so idk. Even during the broadcast no one even entertained the thought of it being out of line. (Excuse the pun)

  • Devastating injury! Today is the day I finally realized that the Pirates season isn’t going to play out as I had hoped. And Kang’s injury coupled with the Cubs domination of the Pirates this season, has made me finally wake up. We have a good team, and I guess that’s what we all had dreamed of for so many years. But this is year #3 and it’s looking more and more likely that another playoff disappointment is looming. I cannot see how they can beat the Cubs in that WC game. I just can’t! In fact, I think the Cubs are a better team than the Pirates. That team can flat out rake! And they have two elite starters that will give them automatic wins in the playoffs. The Pirates top two starters are just too inconsistent. And the Pirates bats can’t put up runs the way the Cubs can.

    Sucks, but I hope the next wave of prospects help the Pirates to eventually get over the hump in the next few years. This current group still has too many holes despite what their record tells us.

    Either way, just my thoughts on a very depressing baseball Thursday.

    • Well the Dodgers have had 2 elite aces the last couple years and it’s hardly given them automatic wins in the playoffs. Was is a depressing day? Yeah, for sure. But stay away from the bridges man, you never know what can happen in the playoffs!

    • The Cubs are not undefeated, even against the Pirates. IN one game anything can happen. Don’t give up until the 27th out of the playoff game.

  • Tim–In the coming days I hope your site will give some insight into what we might expect in 6-8 months. Is it full recovery, or perhaps back to competition but with somewhat limited mobility? Is SS in the future? Or due to reduced mobility or minimizing a similar shot at the knees, will he be limited to 3B or even 1B? What athletes have had similar injuries?

    I doubt the Pirates will comment on this, but medical experts should be able to clarify.

    Kang’s one of my all-time favorites–best wishes to him.

    • I’ll probably have an answer in 6-8 months, since my crystal ball is in the shop. Anything I could do would be speculation, and I don’t think that will help anyone right now.

      • I don’t expect or care about your answer; I’m hoping that you or your staff can track down some expert opinions about the range of possibilities and information on athletes who have had similar injuries.

        • This seems like a very rare combination of injuries, and the questions you’re asking make it an even more specific situation, as we’re now looking for this exact set of injuries from a shortstop like Kang.

          I could talk to an expert about this, but they wouldn’t know Kang’s situation, so their expert opinion would just be a guess. This has been a practice by others in the past, and it’s usually wrong because the expert opinion didn’t come from someone who did the surgery.

          The only people who might know are the people who performed Kang’s surgery, but even then, they would either need to give away protected medical information, or they would need to make a guess as well.

          A big reason why it’s a guess right now is because his future all depends on how he recovers and rehabs from this injury. Until that process is underway, there’s no telling how this individual situation will play out in regards to his future position.

          • Fair enough. I guess I was just hoping to relieve some of my fears, or come to grips with the likelihood of a full recovery.

            I do worry that his SS days are over because even in a best case scenario it would seem his knee would be too vulnerable making the turn at 2nd, especially when there are guys like Coghlan who would try to exploit that vulnerability.

            Wonder if he might be our first baseman next season?

  • Reports saying 6-8 months for return to competition. I assume “competition” does not mean MLB.

  • "I was told this might be so serious that it could delay Kang into the beginning of next year." — @jonmorosi— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) September 18, 2015

    • Completely emotional day
      Very tough realizing that again this team might come up a little short of its’ ultimate goal plus losing such a nice developing player in Kang.
      What are others opinions of this teams focus and leadership?
      Does this team lack fire? Is Hurdle’s ho-hum, we’ll get ‘um next time attitude wearing thin?
      5 years into his tenure I would love to see more confidence, killer instincts, and focus from the players and coaches.
      Sorry for rant again just a bad bad day

  • Looked really close to the whole “Hal McRae” rule. Sliding means you hit the ground first!!!

  • A poster at BD who has researched this says a fracture to the tibial plateau can be pretty serious with long-term consequences, though he should still be a good baseball player in the short-term.

    • Was just doing some reading… if it was just the tibial plateau, it probably wouldn’t be all that bad. Kobe had that. But it’s the two injuries to the knee that would likely delay rehabbing the fracture. I’m not sure if there’s been anything like these three specific injuries together in professional sports.

      So, hopefully what was operated on was the knee and not the fracture. If the fracture required surgery, that would not be good news.

  • Brutal and so very sad. Tough for the team, and even more so for the young man. I hope he can be ready come March. He deserves a starting role someplace in the infield.

  • Reading on the internet…according to it, eight weeks for the MCL and meniscus tears.

  • “I didn’t think it was a knee. I was told it was plantar fasciitis.” – Joe Maddon.

    How does Joe Maddon know Kang has had issues with plantar fasciitis when that info is not on the interwebs nor has Pittsburgh media mentioned it. If this is a case where PF was discovered by the Cubs scouting Kang in Korea, then did the Cubs just violate HIPAA by letting Maddon know?

    And for Maddon to make that remark in light of seeing the play and then seeing Kang not be able to walk off the field… really Joe, your guy takes out Kang’s knee and you think that triggers plantar fasciitis pain?

    I had a lot of respect for you, Joe. Turns out you’re a complete jerk.

    • Bucsws2014- I’ve never in my 40 years of following baseball been so enraged as I was when I heard Maddon say that. If that POS was joking I hope I see him alone on the street somewhere.
      I somewhat follow the Rays as well and he has always come off as a know it all wannabe intellectual with his stupid made up phrases…..just once outside alone.

    • Yes, really what kind of human being makes jokes when a player has just had a serious injury? Despicable.

    • Maddon is a goon. His Tampa Bay teams were going after Jeter for years. He thinks that is a “good, hard baseball play”, what a dick.

  • More Florimon!

    Oh wait…that isn’t a good thing.

    Seriously though…obviously sucks. Kang pretty much exceeded all reasonable expectations…here’s hoping he recovers quickly.

  • This is a gigantic blow to the Pirates chances this year…gigantic.

  • This really ruined my day

    Hats off to him for a great first season. What timetable are we looking at for a return though?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    September 17, 2015 4:53 pm

    Another great performance by Morton today…..throw another game away while we choose to not bring up Glasnow and upgrade the rotation now….

    • Keep banging that drum, Kerpluckistan.

    • Glasnow is not/was not the answer today. He is not ready in many ways. Todays issue, and what we have seen most of the year is the wart that we had from the start of the year with Morton/Locke in the rotation. You can live with one of them as a 5th, but both together are too much to bear. This season may still have a happy ending, but it is getting gloomier each day. There is only so many times you can go to the “wishing well” and find an A.J. or Liriano. The Pirate’s needed to step up over the winter and get a legitimate starter, and failed to do so, relying on the ilks of Liz/Volstead/Richards etc. etc., to become lightening in a bottle. Perhaps they were also looking for help from AAA until the injury bug hit it. In any case their failure to land a top tier pitcher during the off season is slowing starting (no pun intended) to take its toll.

    • How do those 3 HRs in 3 innings Glasnow has given up tonight look for you tonight ?

    • Glasnow gave up 4 ER in 6.2 innings tonight in Triple-A, with three home runs. The idea that he’s ready for the majors now is based on dreaming of his future upside, rather than where he’s at right now.

  • They may call it a “hard” play, but if I’m pitching I look for an opportunity to drill someone. Then again, if I was pitching I would drill someone for looking cross eyed at one of my teammates. 🙂

  • One good thing is that the team will be well rested for Thanksgiving!. Cubs look like the team to beat.

    • From about the 7th inning of Game 1 onwards I was amazed at how Cubs hitters were able to square up just about everything, and even managed to get hits on the balls they didn’t square up. Something like a .396 average on balls in play (including HR as a BIP) which is both good and lucky. Our guys struck them out 46 times in 39 innings – it’s not like they were throwing batting practice.

  • Cutch should’ve pinch hit for Stewart in the 9th. They have Diaz if extras were forced.

  • Joe Maddon is a dirt bag. This team is coached this way. It’s not playing hard, it’s dirty. Nothing good can happen when someone is allowed to slide whatever way they want to at a defenseless player. Just watch the way Starling Marte slid into second base last night, clean and straight to the bag. Then watch Anthony Rizzo as he tried to stop a double play, he was about 5 ft inside the line trying to do the same thing Coghlan did. Out and out dirty players.

    • Coghlan did the same thing to Iwamura I think it was. It isn’t his first time at that. He could barely reach 2nd base on that slide.

  • Did not like the look of that slide into Kang. Similar to the hit Jordy took. Guess Charlie didn’t bring his “A” game today. Wow. What a disaster.

    • Double by Richard to rub salt in the wound. Looks like Blanton’s magic wearing off. Not a good start today heading out on the road.

      • Especially with Greinke and Kershaw looming the first 2 games of the series.

        • I really am confused now. How could a well rested Pirate get injured?

        • Might as well empty the bench before anyone else gets hurt. Can get a little more rest before that long flight to LA. Let Melancon work an inning to shake off the rust…probably won’t need him next 2 nights.

        • Not to mention four in Colordo where they never, ever play well! Worst case scenario, the Cubs can eliminate us from home field in the wild card game by next Friday!

  • Wait for it. NMR is going to figure out a way to make a case for Florimon or somehow even Elias Diaz over Mercer if Kang is out for a long period of time……………….