The timetable for Fowler to return is sixth months, Girardi said Friday, but it could have been worse.
"When I saw him get up and fall down and then I saw the lump in his pants and what happened when the tendon ruptured, his knee cap slid up," said Girardi, who had tears in his eyes attending to Fowler on the field in Chicago on Thursday. "I'm not used to seeing that. It just looked weird to me."
Fowler, a 22-year-old top prospect, was hurt running into an electric box on the short wall in foul territory in right at Guaranteed Rate Field in the bottom of the first inning. Fowler was scheduled to have his first major league at-bat in the top of the second. Instead, he had emergency surgery.
Girardi and all of his players and coaches gathered prior to their Friday game with the Houston Astros and reached out to the still-hospitalized Fowler via FaceTime.
"I thought it was important that we saw him and he saw us," Girardi said.
Fowler was in good spirits, Girardi reported.
The Yankees initially recalled Miguel Andujar to replace Fowler, but Clint Frazier, a top prospect who has garnered a lot of attention, is expected to arrive on Saturday.
Frazier is hitting .247 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs in 73 games at Triple-A. Girardi wouldn't confirm that Frazier would definitely be activated Saturday, but he spoke about what role Frazier would have if he is called up. Frazier is expected to see regular playing time as long as he is up.
"If you are going to bring up an everyday player and you foresee as an everyday player in the future, you are going to play him pretty often," Girardi said.
It is not clear who would be sent down to make room for Frazier.
Earlier Friday, Fowler told the New York Post that the injury will simply make his first at-bat that much more special.
"This is a journey I've gone through my whole life," Fowler told the Post. "Now I've got to work that much harder to get there. Maybe it will be a little more special this go-round."
Fowler's debut in a 4-3 loss to the White Sox certainly didn't go as envisioned, but even a day that ended up being memorable for the wrong reasons was still special.
"I'm glad I was there for one day," Fowler told the Post. "But I'm pretty bummed out I am not going to be there for the rest of the year."
Girardi said that Fowler would be leaving the hospital on Friday. His family, which had booked flights to watch Fowler play in Houston this weekend, instead hopped in their car at 1:30 a.m. in Georgia to be with him in Chicago.
Fowler will be with the Yankees in New York when the team returns next Monday.
"There is still substantial rehab ahead of him," Girardi said.
The Yankees did receive some good injury news Friday, as CC Sabathia's hamstring felt strong after a simulated game on Thursday. Girardi indicated he could return from the disabled list next week to start, but he wasn't ready to make it official.