Utley remains positive about knees

(Yong Kim / Inquirer Photographer)

Disappointment. Frustration. A little worried.

Those were all words and phrases Chase Utley used today. Obviously no news about Utley’s knees was going to be good news.

With how things have been going this spring for the Phillies on the injury front, and especially for Utley, today’s update took a little bit of stress off everyone’s minds.

Anticipated since Friday, Utley talked to reporters in Clearwater today before their Grapefruit League game against the Orioles. The 32-year-old second baseman remained positive about his injuries and his hopeful to be back on his own terms this season.

In Utley’s opening statement before answering questions, he said:

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.

Utley said there is no timetable for his return and said his rehab process will be “slow.” This includes a couple of different stretches that Fischer discussed wth Utley when he was out in Arizona.

“I will take this process fairly slow because I think it’s important to get everything around my knees working correctly,” Utley said. “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.”

Like it was known, Utley has more pain in his left knee than his right, which is the opposite of the problem last season. In the off season, Utley worked on a regimen that took pressure off his right knee while strengthening it. But that process caused Utley to injure his left knee worse than his right, which is the problem this spring.

Utley clarified, saying he has chondromalacia, a softening of the tissue underneath the cartilage under the knee cap. Utley said it is not serious enough for microfracture surgery, but will become a chronic problem for the rest of his career.

It also isn’t serious enough for retirement, which much of the fan base began to speculate when it was announced Utley was leaving camp as well as holding this press conference on Sunday.

Utley wasn’t aware of the speculations.

“I’m definitely not retiring,” Utley said. “When I went out to Arizona, I asked Ruben [Amaro] 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.”

Todd Zolecki has the complete transcript on his blog of the Utley interview.


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