Utley: No Surgery, No Retirement, I’ll Be Back
Here are the highlights:
UTLEY OPENS WITH A STATEMENT: I was in Phoenix meeting with a physical therapist by the name of Brett Fischer for about four or five days, just to get some better ideas on how I can continue to move forward. I have a better idea now on how my body is supposed to move compared to how it’s moving at this time, and I think we have something pretty good for the future.
Q: Which is?
A: Obviously, I’m not going to be ready for opening day. I don’t really have a timeline on when I will be available. I will take this process fairly slow because I think it’s important to get everything around my knees working correctly. And I think it’s going to take a little bit of time. I’m disappointed. I’m upset. I’m not happy that I’m in this situation right now, but I’m not going to let that deter me and get me down. I think that going out to Arizona to talk to Brett, we came up with some better things to do. Some things I’ve already been doing. Some other stretches, some other manual theraphy, some other things that I think will definitely help.
Q: Chronic problem you’ll always have to mange?
A: I think once we get everything around my knees working correctly, I don’t know if it will be a problem. I’ve already seen benefits over the last four or five days from doing some new exercises. I’m very optimistic this is going to turn out well. But again it’s going to take a little time and I have to do this right. I think it’s important, not only for this year, but for the rest of my career. I’m 33 years old. I know some people think that’s old, but I still feel like I have a lot of baseball left in me.
Q: How is this different and similar to last year?
A: It’s fairly similar. My right knee last year was the knee that bothered me. And my left knee felt pretty good. This year it’s the complete opposite. My right knee feels very good, which is in my mind a positive. But now my left knee is a little upset. So we made osme 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. Again, it’ll take a little time to see how it goes.
Q: Better or worse than last year? If better, back earlier than last year?
A: Again, I’m not going to put any type of limit on this. I’m going to kind of go at the pace that my knee tells me. If it feels good I’m going to continue to forward. If it starts to act up I’m going to slow it down a little bit. But as far as pain, last year I was in more pain.
Q: Wear and tear, things start to break down …
A: I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case here. It’s a little wear and tear, but I think if I can get things moving correctly around my knees it’ll alleviate the pain.
Q: Does this mean replacing anything?
A: I’m not looking at any surgery. I’m not looking at any type of injections. I’m looking at a daily routine that consists of manual therapy, strength training, mobilization of the joints.
Q: When did this become an issue again?
A: This offseason I felt pretty good coming into camp, I felt pretty good but the more I tried to progress, it became just a little bit more uncomfortable. I slowed it down a little bit, tried to ramp it up again, and once I ramped it up again I knew it wasn’t moving that great. So at that point I decided to seek his advice.
Q: Why is surgery not an option?
A: Again, unless someone tells me there’s a surgical option that’s 100 percent, I’m not really interested in that. I think I can make adjustments with my body without surgery.
Q: Is this patellar tendinitis?
A: I think there’s some misunderstandings. I don’t have patellar tendinitis. It’s called chondromalacia, which is a roughening of the cartilage underneath the patellar. And it’s not that bad. It’s not bad enough to have microfracture surgery. It’s not bad enough to end my career. It’s an issue I’m going to have to deal with. There’s a lot of wear and tear in this game, and I just have to get things around my knee to move better to take a little pressure off my knee.”
Q: So if you manage it properly …
A: I think I can actually get it to go away, to be honest. My right knee, like I said, feels great.
Q: You’ll be back this year right?
A: I’m not going to put any time on it, but I think at the pace we’re going and the changes I’ve made in the past three or four days, it looks positive. I anticipate playing this year, absolutely, and contributing.
Q: You said you were frustrated. But how worried were you?
A: Maybe a little worried. Disappointment. Frustration. Those are things I was. But I’m not looking for anybody to feel sorry. If anything, I’m looking for a little support here. I think we’re onto something. I’m not happy that I’m not going to be on the field right away with my teammates, but we have a good squad. We have a good pitching staff. We have some veteran leaders who will allow it to not affect us.
Q: There’s been a lot of speculation out there. Like you might retire …
A: Oh. I didn’t hear that one. I’m definitely not retiring. When I went out to Arizona, I asked Ruben not to say where I was going because I didn’t think it was necessary for people to know. I appreciate the organization for respecting my wishes in that regard.
Q: Why did you feel need to be more forthcoming today. Or why didn’t you feel the need to earlier?
A: I did not feel the need. But there are a lot of rumors out there, which I don’t know how they get started. I understand you guys look for things to write about, but now you have the information so there’s no need to make things up or to speculate.
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:
- April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
- April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
- April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.