Just when it looked like the Reds were starting to get healthy, we receive seriously bad news.

Various outlets, both local and national, are reporting that Jay Bruce will undergo surgery to repair a torn knee meniscus tomorrow. He’s expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

On the bright side, at least the Reds didn’t let Bruce play with the injury for two weeks and then finally get around to doing an MRI. They diagnosed the problem quickly and, other than the one pinch hit AB today, didn’t risk further injury.

On the negative side, Reds fans are well aware how easily estimates of 3-4 weeks can turn into six weeks. Joey Votto had similar surgery, with the same predicted 3-4 week DL stint, in 2012 and missed time from July 15 to September 5. Votto’s injury took place on June 29, but he continued to play for a couple weeks, including at the All-Star game.

Even worse, Votto’s injury impacted his hitting for more than a year. The two situations may not be comparable. Votto may have aggravated and worsened his injury. He reinjured it during rehab and required a second surgery. That said, Votto didn’t hit a home run the remainder of the 2012 season after his return. The Reds first baseman also attributes a drop off in power in the 2013 season in part to the prolonged recovery.

Expect Chris Heisey to take Bruce’s spot in RF. Billy Hamilton should return to action Tuesday night and play CF. Skip Schumaker can play across the OF as a backup. He may share time with Heisey in RF.

To replace Bruce on the roster, I believe they can recall Roger Bernadina, who they designated for assignment at the start of the weekend to make room for Skip Schumaker.

The 2012 Reds did a great job filling in for Joey Votto’s loss. Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier, in particular, stepped up in his absence. It will take a similar effort for the Reds to not lose significant offensive firepower. Even though Bruce hasn’t had a big season yet (.216/.352/.363) he has still contributed to the offense through taking walks, among other things.

Check back here for more details as they develop tonight.