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Magglio Ordonez fractures ankle, out 6-8 weeks - UPDATED

UPDATE 11 PM: Here's the scoop on Ordonez's contract, via Mark Snyder of the Freep:

The injury probably deals a major blow to Ordoñez’s contract extension, which had a reported $15 million option for 2011, similar to the one vested in 2009 for this season. reported in February that Ordoñez needed to reach 135 starts or 540 plate appearances for that option to vest for 2011 and, with only 84 games played and 365 plate appearances, the odds on Ordoñez making it with a six-week absence are slim.

Mlive's Chris Iott confirms:

The injury will hit the Tigers hard but also will have an effect on Ordonez, who was on pace to reach 135 starts and 540 plate appearances this season. If he reached either number – and it appeared certain he would reach both – it would automatically kick in his $15 million contract for next season.

Would owner Mike Ilitch pick up the $15M option anyway? Personally, it wouldn't surprise me at all. Ilitch is as loyal an owner as they come. But Iott doesn't think it'll happen.

But due to the injury, it seems certain that Ordonez will now fall short of those numbers, and the Tigers will have the option of picking up that year at $15 million or letting Ordonez become a free agent. It seems unlikely the Tigers would pay him that much, although they could let him become a free agent and then try to bring him back at a lower number.

At this point, there's more questions than answers...and most won't be answered till the season is over.

Original post: Breaking news (pun intended) from tonight's Tigers game.

Via the Tigers' official Twitter stream:

Magglio Ordonez has suffered a right ankle fracture. He will be sidelined for approximately 6-8 weeks

For those of you who didn't see the play, in the bottom of the 3rd the Tigers' veteran right fielder was on 1st base when Miguel Cabrera hit a long drive off the right-enter field wall. 3rd base coach Gene Lamont sent Ordonez, who was visibly slowed by an already bad ankle. Ordonez was out by three feet, and appeared to catch his spike on the slide, twisting his ankle.

Ordonez needed help leaving the field, and was not putting any weight on his right leg.

Now we know why.

This injury puts another factor back in play; Ordonez's contract vesting.

I found the following in a Lynn Henning column from Septemnber '09.

He will be shooting for another option-year situation where, if he has a combined 1,080 plate appearances in 2009-2010, he gets $15 million guaranteed for 2011.

As of his second at-bat tonight, Ordonez stands at 883 plate appearances combined for '09-'10. He's about 175 short from the final option year of his contract kicking in.

The Tigers may have found another $15 million for next year's payroll...though I'm not at all happy as to the reason why.

Contract or not, there's more pressing matters to be addressed. There's the division race and trade deadline. Ordonez's ankle just threw a massive monkey wrench into the Tigers' plans for both.

Dave Dombrowski has a question he needs to ask himself. Are the Tigers contenders without Magglio Ordonez?

The season hinges on Dombrowski's answer.