The mechanical effect of a partial thickness tear or laceration of a tendon is analytically modeled under various assumptions and results are compared with previous experimental data from porcine flexor tendons. Among several fibril-level models considered, a shear-lag model that incorporates fibril–matrix interaction and a fibril–fibril interaction defined by the contact area of the interposed matrix best matched published data for tendons with shallow cuts (less than 50% of the cross-sectional area). Application of this model to the case of many disrupted fibrils is based on linear superposition and is most successful when more fibrils are incorporated into the model. An equally distributed load sharing model for the fraction of remaining intact fibrils was inadequate in that it overestimates the strength for a cut less than half of the tendon's cross-sectional area. In a broader sense, results imply that shear-lag contributes significantly to the general mechanical behavior of tendons when axial loads are nonuniformly distributed over a cross section, although the predominant hierarchical level and microstructural mediators for this behavior require further inquiry.