Phillies Give Update on Utley’s Knee

Chase_utley_knee_flexCareful, Chase, you don't want your chondromalacia to flare up

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.


13 Responses

  1. In a word—-YIKES!!
    This mess with Utley seems to only get worse with each passing day. From “mere soreness” to chondromalacia, and God only knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. I hate to sound alarmist, but I hope that Utley’s wounded knee doesn’t turn into the Phillies’ Wounded Knee.

  2. So basically they muffed it by letting him continue to hit when rest is one of 2 options. And now they are waiting to do the surgery? What would the rehab be like after the surgery? Would he be back this season if he got it now? If he can get back this season then I don’t know what they are waiting on.

  3. “Good news: It’s not an STD. Bad news: Options range from rest to surgery.”
    Possibly the best quote of the day so much so that I’ve forgotten about Charlie Sheen. lol

  4. got a minute?? (no, i don’t have twix. stop asking.)
    i’m still right. i was right before. they should just do the surgery and get it over with. for your reference, surgery they would likely pursue would be simply a tendon debridement, which is merely a paring of the patellar tendon, and possibly other tendons for a smoother interface with the rest of the knee… a very commonplace closed arthroscopic procedure that involves the use of cameras and probes to repair the knee through three small portholes as opposed to “open” which is exactly what it sounds like. it involves cutting the sucker open from an inch below the knee cap to about two inches above. (much longer physical therapy and recovery following the latter circumstance)
    The only issue with surgery is finding more than you want to find. MRIs don’t exactly always tell the whole story. no diagnostic can. think about the movie Varsity Blues for a second. Remember them giving “lance” (for the record i hate Paul Walker) the cortisone injections? without proper diagnostic imaging, cortisone injections can be used to sooth acute inflammation on the regular in the bigs. As it was stated, it happens all the time… AND they don’t need to know what specifically is going on to apply this type of conservative treatment. (in the bigs i’d like to think a multimillion dollar potential HOFer would get an 80 dollar x-ray or a even a 1,000 dollar MRI whenever he needs it) I just hope the same thing hasn’t been happening over and over here as they cite “When he reported to spring training this year, his knee was treated as it had been in the past…”
    post-op therapy and such are very limited considering other operative procedures. based on my limited knowledge, i’m guessing about 6-8 weeks, depending on the severity of the issues surrounding the knee. (let’s just hope it’s not an issue with the meniscus or major ligament such as the ACL, MCL. LCL or PCL.) here’s a good link if you like more info: The GOOD news, is that the pain can still resolve on it’s own. the BAD news is that they let him continue to take BP when the rest is really what he needed. stretching and strengthening can also subside the pain, so perhaps chase will be in jimmy’s wife’s Yoga classes this upcoming offseason?
    i’m thinking, that if chase knew about the pain prior to spring training, he probably shoulda got it looked at then, and not waited til spring training to be evaluated. I hope he can work through it during the season without hindrance,but he’s certainly got some upcoming surgical intervention in the near future.
    in other news one of my buddies just posted a (rumor?!) about joe blanton storming off from practice, indicating a possible trade with texas might have been accomplished for Mr. Young. (SCARED YET?!)

  5. “… the Phillies gathered sequestered all of the beat writers in a room…”
    “Gathered sequestered”? I’m just an uneducated hoople-head, but that just doesn’t sound correct-like.

    It means stop being a whiny wuss, Chicken Little.

    “Googles chondromalacia”
    Google “I’m retching at your stupid wussy-speak.”

  6. um chondromalacia is no big thing. i had it before, all i had to do was some sumo stance squats to strengthen up my adductors and vastus medialis and i had no pain whatsoever from then on. drama drama

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