Chase Utley, who denied a hip injury for most of the second half of the 2008 season, was apparently fibbing. After several diagnostic studies on his right hip, it was determined by doctors that he must have surgery, and as a result, he may not be ready for Opening Day 2009. Utley will have an arthroscopic evaluation with treatment of any labral or bony injury.
What this means is (and I know this from personal experience) that doctors are not completely sure what the damage is and what the extent of the injury will be. They will find out when they open him up and go from there. Sometimes MRI’s, CAT Scans and X-Rays show parts of the issue, or may suggest an injury, but are not conclusive enough to render a full diagnosis. And so, if there is enough evidence to suggest something needs repairing, they just go in and figure out what the scans could not show them. These are the limits of technology. The good news is, it is not as risky as it sounds…arthroscopic procedures are generally safe, although the hip is one of the more tricky areas. But he has good doctors and should be fine. The bad news is that the recovery period is about 3 to 4 months before Utley would be allowed to resume baseball activities, and the total recovery time may be as long as 4 to 6 months. Not good. The Phillies will need to have an alternate 2nd baseman in place and ready to go starting in Spring Training.
Pedro Feliz, who missed 26 days this year with back issues is also scheduled to undergo surgery. He will have a lumbar discectomy, which will be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. This lower-back procedure has a recovery time of about 8 weeks so, Feliz should be ready for Spring Training. Feliz will undergo surgery today and Utley is scheduled for next week. I wish them both the best of luck…our thoughts are with you!
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