FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017 photo, Atlanta Braves shortstop Johan Camargo is tended to by personnel after collapsing as he took the field for a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, in Atlanta. Camargo was placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a bone bruise in his knee while jogging onto the field before Tuesday night's game.

Knee injury will alter Camargo’s pre-game ritual

Braves infielder Johan Camargo suffered one of the stranger injuries when he was hurt taking the field before an Aug. 8 game against the Phillies.

It will change his pre-game ritual.

Camargo was doing his signature cadence in which he scoops dirt from the first base line as he takes the field. He fell and has been out of action since with a bone bruise in his right knee. When he returns, expect to see him more cautious.

“I don’t think I’ll do it the same way,” Camargo said through a translator Sunday of his routine. “The image is still kind of stuck in my head from when it happened. So no, when I go out there I’ll probably do the same thing, but do it a lot slower. Just put my hand on the dirt, not do jogging or sprinting out there. A lot slower just to be careful.”

Camargo’s rehab has been going well. The initial prognosis of two weeks didn’t come to fruition, as Braves manager Brian Snitker acknowledged as the likely case Aug. 14. There has been updated timeline for his return.

“Just taking it day-by-day, step by step,” Camargo said. “Getting better slowly and surely. But yeah, just keep improving. Got to keep going in and do the work day-by-day. And God-willing, hopefully, I’ll be on the diamond soon.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had any kind of injury like that. So it’s definitely been a process and it hasn’t been easy. I think the most challenging thing is not being able to be out on the diamond every day. It’s been a challenge but I’m looking forward to just trying to get stronger.”

Since the injury, Camargo has stayed in the clubhouse. He’s taken it as a chance to learn from the sidelines and study the game.

“Just being around is always helpful,” he said. “Every day you learn something new. So, being around the game and just trying to take advantage of it. Honestly being around my teammates a ton is the best opportunity you have to learn.”

Shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Ozzie Albies have performed admirably in Camargo’s absence. Swanson was recalled from Triple-A shortly after Camargo fell. In that span, the two have combined to hit .313 with 19 runs, eight doubles, six triples, 14 RBIs and 14 walks.

“I’m looking forward to being able to play with them,” Camargo said. “I think it’ll just be enjoyable in the sense that we got to play together in the minor leagues so it’ll be nice to do it here on the big-league field.”

Current and former teammates have reached out to Camargo. Their support has been instrumental in his recovery and fended off negativity.

“I’ve gotten lots of encouraging texts from my teammates, big league players, old teammates, stuff like that too,” he said. “It’s been great. A lot of people just wish me well and tell me to stick with it. People try to tell me not to get frustrated because I think they can relate to how frustrating an injury can be, the process, the time that it takes to recover from it. They tell me to be patient.”

The Braves have no choice but to be patient, with the potential reward being a Swanson, Albies and Camargo infield realized.

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