Howard Needs Surgery, Out 6-8 Weeks

Howard Hits 200, More on HalladayThe Big Piece is out.

The Phillies announced today Ryan Howard will have surgery to repair the torn medial meniscus in his left knee. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks from the date of the surgery, which has not been set. If Howard recovers as expected he could return to the lineup between late August and early September, but that is no guarantee.

“We have to take care of it,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He’s going to have to have a procedure. It’s just a matter of who does it and when.”

Howard had a MRI exam today, which revealed the tear. The tear is new. He had a MRI exam in May, but that revealed only a fraying of the meniscus.

Amaro said the tear is similar to one found in Erik Kratz’s left knee. The Phillies issued the same six-to-eight week recovery period for Kratz following his June 12 surgery. He began a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and could rejoin the Phillies before the end of the week, which would put him two weeks ahead of schedule.

“He moved pretty quickly,” Amaro said of Kratz. “Hopefully we will have the same sort of timeframe. But everyone’s knee is different. We can only speculate the length of how long it will take to get him to rehab. We’ll shoot for the conservative one and hope he comes back faster.”

Howard had hit .266 with 11 home runs, 43 RBIs and .784 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 317 plate appearances before the injury. His presence in the lineup will be missed, but the Phillies are hoping rookie Darin Ruf will seize the opportunity.

Amaro said he expects Ruf to get the bulk of the playing time at first base while Howard is out.

Howard has a growing history of health problems with his left leg. Each of his four trips to the disabled list in his career have involved the left leg: strained left quadriceps in May 2007, sprained ligament in his left ankle in Aug. 2010, torn left Achilles in Oct. 2011 and now the torn meniscus in his left knee.

Howard also revealed yesterday he has a foot problem, although it is unclear how troublesome it is.

“He may have some discomfort there,” Amaro said. “I don’t know anything about his foot.”

The Phillies are hopeful the leg injuries have played a significant role in Howard’s decline offensively the past two seasons. Since the Achilles surgery he has hit a combined .244 with 25 home runs, 99 RBIs and a .752 OPS in 609 plate appearances over 151 games. He also has been one of the least productive hitters in baseball against left-handed pitchers.

Asked if the knee injury could be related to the Achilles injury, Amaro said, “It could have. Really, I couldn’t tell you that. It’s possible. Everything is connected.”

Amaro said the surgery will be scheduled after consulting with Howard’s agent, who will help them decide which doctor to perform the surgery.

“I’m encouraged,” Amaro said. “It could have been much more significant damage. We don’t want any of our players on the DL. But we know what it is and it’s treatable. Hopefully we can get him back in time to play this year.”

11 Comments

This really ticks me off. They knew of this injury a month ago. In fact, they knew before Kratz got hurt. Now Kratz is rehabbing in AAA and due back this weekend, while Howard tried to play through it. Why didn’t they just shut him down, fix the knee and get a healthy Howard just after the all star break. Instead we are looking at Sept and the season could be over by then.

Another case where “playing through the pain” came back to bite them in the butt. I just don’t get it.
I’ll say it, yet again……I get *playing through the pain*. I really do. But there’s a fine line between not helping the team, and actually hurting it. I can’t tell you where that line is. But I would hope players, trainers, management could. I guess not.
Time will tell if this *hurts* the team.

The above readers have failed to grasp the original diagnosis. The meniscus wasn’t torn originally. I would bet at least most of the players in the MLB have some sort of fraying going on with their knee ligaments, it’s just from years of baseball playing.

You can’t blame Howard’s poor play all on this knee, but now that it was been proven to be a ‘torn’ ligament, it must be fixed.

Not all the Phillies management fault here, players don’t require surgury for fraying.

Fix the problem, get Ryan back, and then try to trade him in the off season, he’s just a drag on salary now and I’ll be the Phillies regret signing him for so much long term.

If you are going to play doctor at least realize the meniscus is not a “ligament”, as you put it..

Todd Why is Charlie taking out Ruff in the 8th inning and replacing him with Michael Young? I was under the impression he was a good defensive first baseman? Dave

Sent from David Wagner’s iPad

Because Charlie is an idiot who stifles the development of young ballplayers in an attempt to save his own bacon.

No, it was because he wanted the get McDonald in the game at third base, while keeping Young’s bat in the lineup, if needed. Thankfully, it wasn’t. And Ruf is an OK first baseman, nothing special.

The things people compalin about…

phan52, it was Charlie being Charlie. He took out the young guy to go with the old guy. Nothings changed.

Now you are being ridiculous. It has nothing to do with age. Young would have batted in the next inniing, if necessary, instead of McDonald, and they lost nothing on defense at 1B. That was the only reason. If Charlie wanted to “stifle” Ruf, he could have played Mayberrry at 1B for the whole game. Ruf is the first baseman going forward and it will be up to him to earn further playing time down the road.

You really don’t need to be picking any more nits pherris, as you are already a confirmed nit-wit. Give it up already.

phan52, if I were a nit picker you would have been gone a long time ago. And from nit picker to nit-wit? Way to mix your metaphors.

No one has ever accused Ruf of being a fast runner. Charlie, in addition to wanting to get McDonald into the game defensively, was going for an insurance run, and McDonald is a lot faster than Ruf.

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