Just when a big retirement party was about to break out in Atlanta, the Braves announced that third baseman Chipper Jones will miss the start of his final season. A mere 2 days after Jones had announced that this would be his swan song year, the Braves followed with an announcement today the Jones would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, on Monday. Ironically, the injury occurred immediately prior to his retirement announcement, as he was running into the outfield.
Jones most recent season culminated with Jones missing nearly 3 weeks at the close of the season, due to an arthroscopic surgical procedure for cartilage in the opposite knee.
The hope of general manager Frank Wren is that Jones will be back on the active roster in time for the home opener on April 13th. It’s certainly possible that the third baseman could see the start of the regular season. Depending on the severity and extent of the procedure, Jones could easily see action that soon. There is no doubt the MRI has shown the surgeon what the problem is. However, it really is difficult to know the extent of the damage until the scope is in the knee. Given the description of the injury, my bet is that something is acutely torn and will require a surgical repair. This will most likely require a more lengthly rehabilitation time than say, for instance, a foreign body that is floating loose in Chipper’s knee. Even with an arthroscopic surgical repair of a tear, it’s still within the realm of possibility that we will see his smiling face on opening day.
“The last time he had surgery … it took only about 17 days to get him back on the field. Of course, that being said, he had played for 2 1/2 months. He wasn’t that far out of rhythm or out of shape,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
“But knowing him, If it’s not right on 17 days, it may be 21. He knows his body. He doesn’t take very long to get his rhythm going at the plate.”
Time will tell…but my bet’s on Chipper!