It was a rough night in the New York Yankees' clubhouse, and it had nothing to do with the 4-3 loss to the Royals. Prior to the game, Mariano Rivera crumpled into a heap while shagging fly balls in the outfield, immediately grabbing his knee in pain. He had to be carted off the field and was unable to put weight on his injured right knee, leading many to fear for the worst.
Those fears were confirmed after the game, when Joe Girardi announced Rivera was diagnosed with a torn ACL. The injury will likely end his season, and may end his career as well.
And when he was asked some four hours after the injury and minutes after the Yankees had lost 4-3 to the Royals if he thought he could come back from the injury, which is likely to require season-ending surgery, Rivera said, "At this point, I don't know. At this point, I don't know.
"Going to have to face this first. It all depends on how the rehab is going to happen, and from there, we'll see."
For his part, Girardi tried to stay positive when announcing the injury, saying Rivera would be re-evaluated in New York and that the team would press on.
Girardi: "It's not what you want, but it's not season over. ... You have to find a way to overcome it."— Mark Feinsand (@BloggingBombers) May 4, 2012
Girardi said losing Rivera, a future Hall of Famer, is "as bad as it gets," but the team would have to press on and find a solution at closer. But Derek Jeter summed it up well after receiving the news in the locker room.
"He's going to be missed. There's no other way to put it. You can't replace him." - Derek Jeter on Mariano Rivera.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 4, 2012
Rivera may well battle back from the injury. There's a possibility he does it this year -- we still don't know the extent of his injury or a recovery timetable -- or the next. For now, though, in the immediate aftermath of his torn ACL, the mood is somber, both inside the Yankees' locker room and out.