Those already panicking over Chase Utley’s knee problems were given more fuel to add to the fire today. The Phillies announced that not only does Utley have patellar tendinitis, he also has chondromalacia and bone inflammation.
Utley has had both patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the past. So the recurrence of these issues plus the fact that the cortisone injection did nothing is very, very bad news. In a fantasybaseball.com article, a former athletic trainer states, “…inflammation of the bone, which generally means that the cartilage has completely worn away in spots and Utley’s knee now has portions where bone is rubbing directly on bone.”
Because both rest and cortisone have not helped, the outlook for recovery is grim. The Phillies plan to exhaust all non-surgical options, but those options may be slim.
And if Utley had these symptoms right at the start of spring training, that raises some questions. Did Utley have the same symptoms during his offseason workouts? And if so, why did he not seek help earlier? He could have had surgery in the offseason and saved months of possible playing time.
And now that the Phillies are trying to avoid surgery, that may just be postponing the inevitable. This is also wasting more time if he does eventually need surgery.
According to multiple medical sites and patient testimonies, the rest time needed for non-surgical recovery from chondromalacia, also known as “runners knee,” is listed as “months,” not weeks. If rest will take months to help, why not just do the surgery and get it over with?
This is obviously a frustrating scenario all around. If Utley is going to be out for an extended period of time, the Phillies need to know as soon as possible. Either they will hand the job to Wilson Valdez or they need to look elsewhere for help.
Either way, it is bad news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography