Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported that Chase Utley answered many questions about his injured left knee yesterday. He spoke about a new rehab program and stated that he would play again this year, although no time table was given.
Utley also stated that last year, it was the right knee that bothered him and this year it is the left. He is optimistic because the right knee feels fine now and the new program seems to be working on the left knee. But does this not beg the obvious question that no one has asked him? When the right knee was injured, why did he change his routine/program on only the right side?
Here is the quote from Utley regarding the two knees: “So we made some changes last year to my right knee. It worked because it feels strong. It feels good. Now I have to make similar changes to my left knee.”
Why was the program not changed for BOTH knees back when this issue originally started flaring up? What affects the right knee can also affect the left, especially when it involves impact movements like running and jumping. Still, no precautions were taken. Why? And who in the world was giving Utley training advice at that time? Because whoever neglected to state the obvious may have just cost the Phillies another half a season with no All-Star second baseman.
This could also cut Utley’s career short if the problem persists. Right now, he believes it will all work out. But a few years down the road, who knows?
As you may have heard, former Philles closer Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery, ending his 2012 season with the Reds before it even began. Worse than that, super agent Scott Boras managed to dig up only a 1-year deal for Madson which means he may have to beg for a 2013 contract after not having pitched for all of 2012.
The Wild Thing, former closer Mitch Williams, wrote an excellent article about Madson’s free agency this off-season. Williams discovered that Boras turned down a 3-year, $33 million counteroffer from the Phillies without ever consulting Madson, who did wish to return to Philly. Instead, Madson got stuck with a meager 1-year deal with the Reds.
Williams then posed the question, “What if he gets injured.” Well the Wild Thing’s crystal ball was correct. Madson got hurt and now his career may be in jeopardy.
Mad Dog Madson should be foaming at the mouth over the way his agent handled his free agency. If I were Madson, Boras would be fired. Then again, I guess the Phillies can thank Boras for doing such a crappy job. Had he not totally sucked, the Phillies would be paying Madson $11 million this year to do nothing except have surgery. Nicely done, Boras.
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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