After the latest setback for Zack Eflin – a flare up of his knee injury on August 26, the day he was supposed to return to the Phillies lineup – it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would not pitch again in 2021.

What wasn’t expected was that this cranky knee would have him miss games in 2022 as well, but that’s where things are for the Phillies at this point.

The Phils announced that Eflin, 27, will undergo surgery Friday to repair his right patellar tendon and that the recovery time from this surgery is six-to-eight months:

That means, even on the fast end, he wouldn’t be able to start his offseason pitching program until March, when most pitchers are gearing up to start the regular season at Spring Training.

And if he comes in on the slower end of the timeline, that would take him into next May, meaning Eflin might not pitch meaningful baseball games again until after next season’s All-Star break.

There was no doubt the Phillies were going to look for starting pitching depth in the offseason anyway, but this exacerbates the need even further.

Eflin was 4-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 18 starts this season, but hasn’t pitched since July 16. He was placed on the IL with right patellar tendonitis and rehabbed it to get back in time to pitch on Aug. 26, only to be scratched three hours before game time.

He has been shut down since.

Eflin also spent time on the COVID-related IL which likely prevented this pending surgery from happening about a week or so sooner.

Tendinitis has been a chronic issue for Eflin ever since he was a teenager. He had surgery on both knees in 2016.

He was moved to the 60-day IL which give the Phillies a little bit of flexibility with their 40-man roster as they go down the stretch.