Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is dealing with severe pain in his right knee that's knocked him out of the lineup, and leaving the team to ponder replacement options going into the regular season.
(CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler speculates that the Tigers' Ramon Santiago could be a possibility, as the Phillies seem to prefer utility infielders, rather than full-time second basemen.)
With the Phillies in Lakeland on Wednesday to play the Tigers, manager Charlie Manuel approached Brandon Inge and asked to him call Utley and commiserate about knee pain. Utley is suffering from tendinitis in his knee, much like what the Tigers' third baseman dealt with two years ago.
Inge, you might recall, had a severe case of patellar tendinitis in both of his knees, yet still played in 157 games. He also tried various treatments, such as injecting plasma and glucose into the injured areas. After the season, however, Inge needed surgery.
(The procedure was debridement, in which dead or damaged tissue was removed from the knees.)
Inge was happy to oblige, explaining what motions caused the most pain, but gave Utley some straight talk: Either tough it out or have season-ending surgery. Inge also made sure to explain that the surgery is no fun, going into some grisly detail.
"They don't just do arthroscopic surgery -- they open you up," Inge said, lifting his uniform to reveal a five-inch scar on his left knee. Surgery was frustrating ... because the recovery is slow. In the beginning part, it’s painful."
Inge said the procedure included the drilling of three holes in his kneecap.
Inge went on to explain that those knees will never be the same after surgery, and it took him a full year to feel fully healthy. Tigers fans, of course, are hoping that results in a rebound season. Inge posted impressive numbers in the first half of 2009, batting .268/.360/.515 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs. But once his knees wore down, so did his production, which sank to .186/.260/.281 and six homers.