Derek Jeter may need ankle surgery

(Adam Hunger / Reuters)

The New York Yankees are two losses away from the end of their 2012 season — and perhaps the end of an era.

An MRI Sunday confirmed Derek Jeter broke his left ankle during an awkward fall in the field in the 12th inning of Saturday’s Game 1 loss to Detroit. Citing a league source, ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews reported Sunday that the 38-year-old shortstop will “likely” undergo surgery. Jeter will travel to Charlotte, N.C., this week to see specialist Robert Anderson.

Jeter dealt with multiple injuries to the same ankle during the season and Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that his captain received a cortisone shot in September to relieve pain from a bone bruise in his left foot. Girardi said (via the Newark Star-Ledger) that a doctor told him recovery from the ankle surgery is “probably a three-month ordeal.”

“I don’t think he was playing on a stress fracture, but I think that weakness in his ankle, and the foul tip off his foot, contributed to that,” Girardi said before Game 2 (via ESPN New York). “You hear a lot of guys talk about when they sprain one ankle, they usually hurt something else. I think it’s inevitable, if you continue to play with something hurt, you’re probably going to end up hurting yourself somewhere else.”

Down 0-2 and with their top hitter this postseason on the shelf, the Yankees are hurting. And if they fail to come back against the Tigers, the questions about their future with Jeter, a 40-year-old Mariano Rivera determined to return from torn ACL and a scuffling 37-year-old Alex Rodriguez will be more pressing than ever.

After his best season at the plate since 2009, Jeter appears to have another year or two (or three) left in him. He displayed his toughness by refusing to allow the team’s training staff to cart him off the field on Saturday.

“He said, ‘Do not carry me,’” Girardi said. “That’s who he is. He sends messages through the way he plays a lot of times, the way he goes about his business.”

For 17 years, Jeter has helped carry the Yankees by going about his business, but on Sunday, he did not show up for work. Instead, he was home, on crutches with his injured ankle in a splint.

Now the question facing Jeter and the Yankees is how much business does this aging roster have left?

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