CINCINNATI, April 8 (UPI) -- In a painfully familiar scene on Sunday afternoon, Ken Griffey Jr. crumpled to the field while running the bases and will be sidelined at least 3-6 weeks with a partially- torn patellar tendon in his right leg as well as a partially-dislocated right kneecap.
The 11-time All-Star centerfielder for the Cincinnati Reds could even miss the rest of the season if the knee does not respond well to treatment.
"We are going to fit him with a brace and immobilize the knee," said Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek. "He will begin a rehab program and we'll monitor it for a couple of weeks. It is a serious injury. If you have to operate, he will miss the season. If you treat it and it responds, there is a chance that he will only miss a couple of weeks. I explained this to him and he wants to try treatment so he can come back and help the team."
The Reds put Griffey on the 15-day disabled list Monday. Outfielder Ruben Mateo was called up from Louisville to replace him on the roster.
It is yet another setback for the 32-year-old Griffey, who was hampered by a torn hamstring last season, when he had 22 homers and 65 RBI while playing in only 111 games. In his first season with the Reds in 2000, Griffey had 40 home runs and 118 RBI.
Ironically, Griffey hit his first home run of the season and the 461st of his career and also doubled in Cincinnati's 6-5, 10-inning win over Montreal. But after doubling in the seventh, he was caught in a rundown between third and home on a fielder's choice grounder by Aaron Boone and fell to the ground as he was tagged out.
An MRI taken after the game at Good Samaritan Hospital revealed the torn patellar tendon damage.
"He planted his right foot and heard it pop," Kremchek said. "It was first thought that it subluxed his knee cap, but the MRI revealed a partial tear of his patellar tendon."
The play was eerily similar to when Griffey collapsed on the field with a torn hamstring after rounding third base in a spring training contest last year.
The Reds acquired Griffey from the Seattle Mariners in February 2000 and signed him to a contract through the 2008 season. He is a Cincinnati native.
Griffey was named to Major League Baseball's All-Century team, and voted Player of the Decade for the 1990s. He ranks 23rd all-time in home runs, one behind Jose Canseco, and has 1,338 RBI. Griffey won 10 straight Gold Gloves with Seattle from 1990-99.