Brave Chipper could be finished
Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010 12:26 pm
By: By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Chipper Jones may have played his last game in the major leagues after tearing up his left knee while fielding a ground ball.
Jones’ agent, BB Abbott, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the third baseman will need surgery for a damaged ACL and is likely done for the season, a major setback for the first-place Atlanta Braves.
The 38-year-old Jones was hurt in Tuesday night’s game at Houston. He had an MRI exam and met Thursday with the team doctor, Marvin Royster, who delivered the bad news.
“Dr. Royster told him there was definitely instability in the knee,” Abbott said. “The ACL looked to be stretched. There’s definitely damage done to the ACL. He more than likely will need surgery that would end the season.”
Jones was meeting Thursday with his agent and team officials. While it’s likely he’ll seek a second opinion, Abbott indicated that it’s unlikely the news will be any more promising.
“At some point, he will definitely need surgery,” the agent said. “The indication was that it will be immediate.”
Jones had bounced back from a disappointing start and was hitting .265 with 10 homers and 46 RBI for a team that had a 21⁄2-game lead in the NL East on two-time defending league champion Philadelphia.
The Braves will have to carry on with Omar Infante and Brooks Conrad sharing third base, though neither has Jones’ power.
“Obviously, he’s very, very disappointed. I would almost describe it as numb,” Abbott told the AP. “He knows this will be a big blow to the team. Obviously, he has been going very well recently and felt like he was really contributing to the team’s success. This is real disappointing for him.”
Coming off a disappointing 2009 season, Jones got off to a miserable start this year and said in June that he was considering retirement.
A few days later, he backed off and said he would wait until after the season to make a decision. He had been playing much better since then, raising his average some 30 points and showing more power in the middle of the lineup.
Now, Jones has another issue to think about — coming back from the second major knee injury of his career. His rookie season was delayed after he tore up the same knee in 1994, but returned to become one of the greatest players in Atlanta history, a six-time All-Star who won the NL MVP award in 1999 and the NL batting title in 2008.
Coming back from a serious injury late in his career would be much tougher. Abbott said any timetable for Jones’ possible return wasn’t likely to be known until surgery was performed and doctors could determine just how badly the knee is damaged.
So far, there has been no talk about retirement, Abbott said.
“I’m sure as the next couple of days go by, those are things we’ll discuss and he’ll discuss with his family,” Abbott said. “It’s not something he’ll decide immediately. He’s going to need to hear everything about the injury and rehabilitative process. He’ll probably make his decision from there. I can assure you it’s not something that’s going to be a knee-jerk decision.”
It certainly appears he won’t be around to help the Braves try to hold off Philadelphia for their first playoff appearance since 2005 in the final season for longtime manager Bobby Cox, who’s definitely retiring at the end of the year.
“There’s certainly a part of him that feels like he’s let Bobby down, and let his teammates down,” Abbott said. “He’s really distraught about it.”