ATLANTA -- It might take some time, but Johan Camargo will eventually be able to laugh about the embarrassing -- and initially scary -- tumble he took while completing his normal pregame ritual before the Braves were handed a 5-2 loss by the Phillies on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park.
As Camargo lay on the ground near the first-base line in obvious pain while Julio Teheran was preparing to throw his first warmup pitches of the night, it appeared he might have torn a knee ligament or suffered some other form of significant structural damage. But the rookie shortstop, and all of the Braves, were relieved when a MRI exam showed he had simply sustained a right knee bone bruise.
"When you looked at it, I was thinking a lot worse," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I was thinking the kid was probably going to be done for the year. They said they heard a pop and I'm thinking he tore something and would need surgery."
Instead of potentially facing months of rehab that would have followed surgery, Camargo now is hopeful to return to action in two weeks. His move to the disabled list opens the door for the return of Dansby Swanson, who was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett shortly after Camargo became the Braves' everyday shortstop after the All-Star break.
Swanson was removed from Gwinnett's game almost immediately after Camargo sustained the injury. If he is indeed brought back to Atlanta, as expected on Wednesday, he'll likely regain his role as Atlanta's primary shortstop.
"First of all, I want to thank God it isn't worse than it is," Camargo said through an interpreter. "I don't know if I can really say it was bad luck. I do the same thing [before every game]. Maybe my spike got caught on the field or something."
As he took the field with his Braves teammates before the start of the first inning, Camargo extended his ritual of hopping just before he got to the dirt along the first-base line. When he landed awkwardly on his feet in the grass, he attempted to right himself before tumbling forward and coming to rest on the infield grass.
"At the moment, I was worried, so I just immediately began to pray, hoping it wasn't a more severe injury," Camargo said. "I knew I was hurt and I was just hoping for the best."
Camargo established himself as one of this season's biggest surprises as he earned a lasting spot on Atlanta's bench by early June and batted .346 with a .902 OPS through his first 28 big league starts this year. He has continued to provide a steady glove in the field, but has hit just .227 with a .676 OPS over his last 18 starts.
"He's doing really well. It's been a really great experience for him," Snitker said. "He's played about as good of shortstop as you possibly can. He's gotten some big hits. He's getting his legs under him and doing really well. So, yeah, I hate it for him because he's a hard-working kid."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.