Utley has cortisone injection in sore knee


Saturday, March 5, 2011
Posted: 11:45 a.m.Updated: 2:25 p.m.

By Jim Salisbury

CLEARWATER, Fla.The Phillies have ramped-up their treatment of the stubborn tendinitis in Chase Utleys right knee.

The five-time all-star second baseman had a cortisone injection on Friday, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Saturday morning.

He hasnt been progressing as much as we would have liked, Amaro said. Hopefully this gets him over the hump. Well probably know by the end of the weekend whether its helped him. Hopefully it does so he can get on the field and play in some games.

Utley, who has yet to play this spring, was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in the knee after an MRI last weekend.

I've been doing a lot of different things to try to alleviate the pain in my knee, Utley said. It hasn't gone as well as I would have liked so I had the cortisone shot to see if we can get some of the inflammation out.

Utley still hopes to be play enough in spring training to be ready for opening day, but there is no timetable for when he will get in the field. He has been taking batting practice, but has been held out of running and fielding drills because of the pounding it creates on his knee.

Amaro said the Phillies were still trying to piece together the reason why Utley has developed the patellar tendinitis.

Could it be more than that? Perhaps, Amaro said. Right now thats what we have. Hopefully this gets him going. If not well have to look more intently at it and see what the story is.

Utley has had patellar tendinitis in the past, but never has it lingered this long. The affliction, also called jumpers knee, can be caused by overuse and is treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medicine.

This is lingering longer than it has in the past, Utley said. So with that said, there is a little bit of level of concern. But I think we're doing the right things to try to get it better.Utley gave a vague response when asked if he'd required a cortisone injection for past bouts of patellar tendinitis."I've had a few shots over the course of my career," he said.Amaro said an MRI taken last weekend showed no structural damage inside Utleys knee. But MRIs dont always showing everything that is going on inside a knee. The lack of improvement in Utleys condition leads one to wonder if there may be an undiscovered problem inside the knee.

Utley was asked if he feared his problem may be something worse than tendinitis.

There's always concern when you're not able to play, he said. From everything on the MRI and what the doctors have been saying, it seems like it can get better. At this point, it hasn't gotten a whole lot better so that's why we've taken the next step.With three weeks remaining in spring training, Utley believes he has plenty of time to get himself ready for the April 1 season openerbut first he has to get on the field.

That's my goal, he said. That's why I'm showing up every morning at 6:30 to try to get this thing better. Hopefully we're making the right strides.

There have been times down here when I felt great after 15 at-bats in spring training and times where I've felt great after 50 at-bats, he added. Obviously I want to get out there as soon as possible but we also have to look at the big picture as well.

The Phillies have plenty of depth in camp to cover second base while Utley is out. Wilson Valdez, Delwyn Young, Pete Orr, Carlos Rivero, Harold Garcia, Brian Bocock, Michael Martinez and Josh Barfield have all gotten looks at the position in spring training. It remains to be seen if the Phils would look to make a trade if Utley is not ready for opening day. Texas has made infielder Michael Young available but hes owed 48 million through 2013 and, with a payroll that has risen to 160 million, the Phils would have a tough time taking on that contract.

E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com

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