Photo courtesy St. Pete Beach Photo
Earlier, Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki wrote that Chase Utley has been spotted in Phoenix this week, which hints at the location of the specialist he is seeing for his knee (I’m really good at deducing)*. As sports injury expert Will Carroll Tweets, it’s likely that, if Utley is in Phoenix, he is there seeing Dr. Thomas Carter, a doctor for the Phoenix Suns and a surgeon for the Cartilage Restoration Clinic of Arizona.
*I’ve been obsessively checking the interwebtuals and social networks for mentions of Chase anywhere, but no luck. Credit to Zolecki for figuring it out.
In 2005, Carter performed microfracture surgery on then-Sun Amare Stoudemire. That sort of surgery has been discussed as an option for Utley. Basically, Utley is lacking cartilage in his knees, causing grinding of bones, which is why even four months of rest seemingly did him little good.
Microfracture surgery is the process of creating small fractures in the bone with the expectation that blood clots and scar tissue (cartilage) builds up to create a cushion which prevents bones from grinding.
Microfracture can be both good and bad. As CSN’s John Finger pointed out yesterday, it has a high-success rate (80%) and few lasting effects. The downside is that there’s a 20% chance new cartilage won't grow where it's needed (good at math…) … and it takes about a year to recover from. It’s a serious surgery, which is likely why the Eagles hid the fact that Brandon Graham had the procedure last year.
Anyway, this is all speculation for now, but it sounds like there’s a chance Utley is in Phoenix seeing the guy who performed microfracture surgery on Amare Stoudemire.