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Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. vows to return stronger after ACL injury

Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., shown April 9, 2021, suffered a torn ACL during his team's 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI
Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., shown April 9, 2021, suffered a torn ACL during his team's 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | License Photo

July 11 (UPI) -- Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. promised to return "stronger than ever" a day after suffering a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee.

"The only thing I can say is that I'm obviously going to put [in] maximum effort to come back stronger than ever," Acuna said through an interpreter during a conference call Sunday. "If [I] was giving 500% before, I'm about to start giving 1,000%."

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Acuna suffered the major knee injury during the Braves' 5-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday. He landed awkwardly on the warning track while chasing a fly ball hit by the Marlins' Jazz Chisholm Jr.

The 23-year-old Acuna immediately grabbed at his knee while Chisholm circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

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The game was delayed for more than 10 minutes after Acuna initially attempted to walk off the field under his own power, but he was unable to do so. He was then transported to the locker room on a cart.

"I knew something was wrong," Acuna said Sunday. "I guess I didn't understand the severity of it until the doctor told me about it later on. Nothing I can do about it now. I can't control things I can't control."

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Later Saturday, the Braves announced that Acuna suffered a complete tear of his ACL and would undergo season-ending surgery. He is expected to be sidelined for nine to 10 months, meaning he could potentially miss the start of the 2022 season.

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"I think I'm a patient person and I think that's going to work in my favor," Acuna said. "Continue to work hard, trust the process of the rehab. Just continue to work hard. You get out what you put in."

Prior to the injury, Acuna was positioned for a run at his first National League MVP award. He leads the Braves in batting average (.283), home runs (24) and stolen bases (17) this season, and tops all MLB players with 72 runs scored.

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