And it's still not good.
Earlier this morning, the Phillies sequestered all of the beat writers in a room before issuing this statement:
Chase has had mild patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the past that have previously resolved quickly. His symptoms returned during his off-season workouts, and he developed some anterior knee pain consistent with his prior history. When he reported to spring training this year, his knee was treated as it had been in the past, however his symptoms continued. An MRI was obtained that demonstrated his prior tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation. His chondromalacia symptoms persisted in spite of focused non-operative care, including a cortisone injection. A subsequent cartilage-specific MRI was obtained confirming the initial diagnosis. Continued non-operative treatment is being carried out and additional opinions will be obtained.
– Googles chondromalacia –
Good news: It's not an STD. Bad news: Options range from rest to surgery.
As best as I can understand it, chondromalacia is what happens when the kneecap (patella) rubs against the femur due to poor alignment of the knee. Over time, smooth cartilege – which allows the patella to slide gracefully in the joint – wears down, causing pain and inflammation in the knee. The injury is common in athletes.
According to medicine sites, most treatment options include nothing more than rest, ice, and strenghthing of the quad muscles to help the knee move more evenly. But then there's this from the National Library of Medicine:
If the pain does not improve and there are signs of arthritis developing around the kneecap, surgery may be an option. Surgery may be done using:
- Arthroscopy (using a camera, which allows a smaller cut)
- An open approach, with a surgical cut
During the surgery, kneecap cartilage that has been damaged may be removed. Changes may be made to the tendons to help the kneecap move more evenly.
Judging by the last line of the Phillies' statement and this from Amaro: [Zo Zone]
Q: Is surgery on the table?
AMARO: No, we're trying to do this non-operatively. That's one of the reasons why we're … we'd rather not go in there and operate. We're trying to treat this non-operatively, and if there's a way to do that we'll try to exhaust all those possibilities. Now, it may turn out we have to do something as far as operations are concerned, but the goal is try to get him well without doing it.
… it looks like they are going with passive treatment options for right now, but that "additional opinions" line is scary.