San Francisco Giants catcher and Lee County native Buster Posey is out for the season after having surgery Sunday to repair three torn ligaments in his ankle sustained in a collision at home plate last week.
"He's not going to be back this season," head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said in a conference call with reporters. "He will have another surgery somewhere in the 8- to 10-week mark to take out some of that hardware that the doctors put in. That's already determined. ... Add that to rehab time, and I don't see him making it back this season."
Groeschner said Posey had two screws inserted into his lower leg to stabilize the ankle over a surgery that lasted about 90 minutes early Sunday morning.
"We're very pleased with how his ankle came back together. He had that fractured fibula as well," Groeschner said. "After re-X-raying the fracture, we felt like we didn't really need to do anything with that, which was nice."
The 2010 NL Rookie of the Year broke a bone in his lower left leg and injured the ankle in a collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on Wednesday night. Groeschner said the team is optimistic Posey will be ready for opening day next season, but that he has a long road ahead.
"I think it's a good prognosis," Groeschner said. "He just had a very devastating injury, he just had surgery and he still has a long rehab process to go. We're optimistic and we'll see how he does at the end of the summer, where he's at."
Groeschner said that they hope to ease him into spring training and that there might be the need for another arthroscopic surgery next year or several years later depending on the amount of scar tissue that occurs during the healing process.
"He's a young guy, he's strong, he's got some good genes, he can obviously play the game well. This may hinder him a little bit; it's probably too early to tell," the trainer said. "We'll just see how he does with the rehab and where this goes."
Posey was injured when Cousins collided into him as the Giants catcher was attempting to catch a throw in San Francisco's 12th inning loss to the Marlins.
Posey was in immediate pain, something he had said hadn't subsided when he talked for the first time since the injury on Friday. Groeschner said Posey will still be hurting for a few more days, but expected that to subside soon.
"He was fairly comfortable. He's still going to be in pain for the next few days, which we've warned him. I think now that his ankle's fixed, not only the physical pain but some of the mental stuff will start getting better for him now that he knows he's on the road to recovery," Groeschner said.
Posey finishes 2011 hitting .284 with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 45 games. Last year, Posey was recalled from the minors in late May and hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 108 games.
The collision has sparked a debate on if rules should be changed to better protect catchers at the plate. Posey felt Cousins could have slid around him but said it was a legal play. His main objective will be to continue his career as soon as he can, starting with Sunday's procedure.
"It's a good first step in getting Buster back to his playing days again," Groeschner said.