The Orioles' 2013 season plummeted from modestly disappointing to something far gloomier the instant Manny Machado took an off-kilter step Monday in Tampa Bay and wrenched his left knee.

But the news was not as bad as feared as an MRI revealed Tuesday that Machado had not torn any major ligaments. The All-Star third baseman tore his medial patellofemoral ligament which Orioles trainer Richie Bancells described as a smaller ligament that keeps the kneecap from sliding laterally.

Bancells said Machado could recover with six to eight weeks of rest and strengthening exercises meaning he would likely be ready for spring training next year barring a setback.

The news left club officials relieved after a tense day awaiting the diagnosis on their brightest young star.

“It’s good news for the clubhouse as much for the person as for the team” said manager Buck Showalter. “I know they’ve come to really respect Manny for the way he carries himself and the way he’s presented himself.”

Asked earlier about Machado’s mindset Showalter said the injury “scared him a lot.”

“In general baseball players with that injury can get back to playing at a high level” said Daryl Osbahr an orthopedic surgeon and director of sports medicine research at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.

Machado who was at the ballpark Tuesday but did not speak with reporters will seek a second opinion Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. He is expected to return for a check-up with team orthopedist John Wilckens in four weeks.

Duquette said Machado suffered a similar injury on the same kneecap when he played for Class-A Delmarva in 2011.

That could be a reason to consider surgery instead of treating the injury with rest said Osbahr the Union Memorial surgeon. He said Machado’s doctors will also want to check for related injuries such as cartilage damage around the kneecap.

“The decision on whether to treat it with surgery or not is a complex one” Osbahr said.

With three straight losses to the wild-card-leading Tampa Bay Rays the Orioles had essentially forfeited their postseason chances before Machado collapsed to the field in agony.

But the tone rapidly shifted to funereal Monday evening as images of the fallen wunderkind beamed across the country. Teammates stared silently from the dugout as Machado yowled in pain. From around the sports world condolences and prayers flooded Twitter.

Fans remained aghast at the injury as they filed into Camden Yards on Tuesday for the first game of the season’s final homestand.

“It was awful” said Steve Hood of Baltimore who watched the injury happen live on television. “I thought it was at least a year he would be out.”