Over the holiday weekend, I reached out to Dr. Mark Drakos, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery, who answered a few questions regarding Mike Soroka’s recent re-tear of his Achilles. The entire recovery process since Soroka originally tore his Achilles has been — for lack of a better word — fishy, and after my conversation with Dr. Mark Drakos, I’m even more interested to see what details come out moving forward. We’ve still yet to hear from Soroka since he re-tore his Achilles, and I have a feeling there’s more to this story than we are currently being led to believe. Dr. Drakos agrees; below is our conversation.
Chase Irle: It seems like Soroka went through complications throughout his entire recovery process. How common is that when dealing with a repaired Achilles? And will it be even more difficult the second time around?
Dr. Mark Drakos: This is not normal. There seems to be more to the story than they are letting on. The second time around, the results are not as good.
Chase Irle: Apparently, Soroka’s body rejected the sutures in his Achilles. I’ve never heard of the word suture before this report. What exactly are sutures, and how rare is it for somebody’s body to reject them?
Dr. Mark Drakos: Sutures hold the Achilles together. Some people have a reaction to or are allergic to the suture material. Most of the time, it is just an infection, which is located around any foreign material, which in this case is the suture.
Chase Irle: This most recent tear was from Soroka simply walking to the ballpark. Given that and the previous report about the sutures, is it possible the two are connected? Would that reflect negatively on the surgeon, or was this just another freak accident?
Dr. Mark Drakos: Again, likely there is more to the story. I have never heard of someone re-rupturing from walking.
Chase Irle: For a re-tear, what is the typical recovery time? When can we reasonably expect to see Soroka throwing off a mound again?
Dr. Mark Drakos: 1 year
Chase Irle: Now that Soroka has torn the same Achilles twice, what are the odds it happens again compared to someone who has never torn their Achilles before? And at what point do we stop talking about season-ending and start talking about potentially career-ending?
Dr. Mark Drakos: Odds of retear after 1 is 1%. After 2 tears would likely be higher, but this data is unknown. For a pitcher, it isn’t as critical as a basketball player (in which it can be career-ending injury 40% of the time), but it is possible that he can’t pitch again, especially if it’s his push-off foot.
When the news about Soroka’s re-tear broke, my heart sunk into my stomach. It’s impossible not to feel for this kid, who is one of the most talented pitchers in the world. He just can’t seem to catch a break, and it’s going to be at least a year before we find out if he can pitch successfully at the top level again. If there’s anyone who can overcome this, it’s Soroka, but between now and then, I think we will find out a lot more about what actually happened, and I don’t expect it to be pretty.