Nationals’ Adam Eaton has ankle surgery, no return timetable

PHOENIX (AP) Washington Nationals center fielder Adam Eaton had surgery on his troublesome left ankle Thursday with no timetable given for his return.

The arthroscopic surgery was performed in Green Bay by the Packers’ orthopedist, Dr. Robert Anderson, an expert in the field of ankle injuries. Anderson was the third doctor Eaton visited.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says no injury was apparent from MRIs, prompting Anderson to do the exploratory operation. Rizzo says Anderson found and repaired ”a little tear” known as a chondral flap that was irritating the ankle when Eaton moved.

”The good thing is, there was something that needed to be done for him to rehab at 100 percent,” Rizzo said.

The general manager, speaking before the Nationals opened a four-game series at Arizona, said the injury is believed to have happened when Eaton slid hard into home plate early this year.

Eaton has been on the disabled list with what was listed as a bone bruise since April 9. He is expected back this season.

”We had images three different times, two MRIs and a bone scan throughout this process, and there was nothing seen,” Rizzo said. ”But because each and every time he got out of the immobilized boot, there was consistent pain.”

He said that the operation discovered ”an unstable chondral flap, which is a little cartilage flap, so a little tear, but it was a flap. But on the images, the cartilage was always flat. But when he was in the process of doing things, running and moving, the flap would get stuck into the lateral gutter of the ankle. It would cause inflammation and pain.

”That’s why we could never get him over the hump when we got him out of the boot, because this flap kept interfering and causing inflammation and pain,”

The Nationals don’t believe this injury is at all connected to the torn ACL that cost Eaton his entire first season with the Nationals last year.

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