Matt Kemp: Ankle injury could be "career threatening"

USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has been injury prone the last few seasons, and now we learn he has a career threatening ankle injury.

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had some cleanup work done on his shoulder on Tuesday, marking the end to a season full of one injury after another. He should be fine for spring training after a six to eight week recovery.

But he is not out of the woods, per Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:

The shoulder, which was operated on a year ago to repair a torn labrum, should be healed in time for Spring Training.

A bigger concern for Kemp now is the microfractured talus bone near his ankle that knocked him out of the postseason and put him on crutches for another three weeks.

Kemp said he was warned by doctors that further damage to the involved bone could be career threatening. Major surgery on the ankle is not anticipated, doctors said, but a minor cleanup procedure is possible.

Wow. That was my reaction when I read this on Thursday morning. This is not good for his fantasy value in 2014, so let's take a look.

Kemp hit .270-.328-.395 with 6 HRs, 35 runs, 33 RBI and 9 stolen bases in just 73 games this season, marking the second straight season he has underperformed expectations. After playing just 10 games between May 29th and September16th, Kemp hit well in the 11 games he played in September, hitting .314 with a HR, 5 runs and 6 RBI in 11 games. But, he was left off the Dodgers playoff roster due to recurring issues with his shoulder, the one that was operated on last offseason.

Now this news about the ankle is definitely not encouraging, as Gurnick stated it could be career threatening should the ankle suffer any more damage. I was ready to rank Kemp in my Top 25 hitters for 2014, but this news changes things in a big way.

I haven't completed my early Top 100 Rankings which I started a few weeks ago, as I am now focusing on my Top 30 position rankings for 2014, but Kemp will certainly drop in both the Top 100 and my outfielder rankings.....for now.

As the offseason progresses, we will learn more about his injury and how his rehab is going, so I will provide updates as we get them. This news will certainly impact what the Dodgers do with Andre Ethier this offseason, so if he isn't traded, one could surmise that Kemp's ankle isn't 100% healthy.

It might be a little early to worry about the ankle injury, as it could heal and he could be fine for the start of the season. But, ankle injuries can be tricky, as he needs a healthy ankle to do practically everything on the baseball field. Even if he is healthy in 2014, the ankle injury could impact his performance at the plate, in the outfeild, and on the base paths.

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