It wasn't something they wanted to see but it was something Detroit Tigers fans have seen far too often.

Catcher Alex Avila took a big hit. This time it was in the second inning of a pivotal Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross tried to score from third base on a grounder to second. Avila caught the throw from Omar Infante in plenty of time to see Ross headed toward him like a freight train. Remarkably Avila held on to the ball to record the out.

Avila tried his best to grit out the pain but two innings later manager Jim Leyland removed him from the game. The official diagnosis for Avila is a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.

Avila sat understandably while conducting postgame interviews but wore no brace or ice on the sore left knee.

"I tried to (stay in the game)" he said after the 4-3 loss to Boston which left the Tigers with a 3-2 deficit in the series. "I didn't have much mobility back there. It was hard to move around. I think Skip just felt that it was best to get me out and get me right for the next game.

"I definitely didn't want to come out but I also knew that I couldn't really move as well as I wanted to back there. It was bothering me a little bit and kind of between myself Skip and (Head Athletic Trainer) Kevin (Rand) we thought it would be best if I came out."

Assuming Avila's mobility is not restricted 36 hours from now it's going to take a lot more than pain to keep him from sitting out Saturday's elimination game in Boston.