Utley opts for therapy, not surgery

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley starts therapy program to avoid surgery on left knee.

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has a new plan.

It’s not surgery. It’s not retirement. It’s a daily routine that he hopes will strengthen both of his knees, though not in time for him to play on Opening Day.

Utley spoke to reporters Sunday for the first time since he left Phillies camp six days ago. He said he went to Arizona to visit trainer Brett Fischer, who has worked with numerous athletes, including Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Morneau and Kerry Wood.

Together, Utley and Fischer came up with a new daily routine that will include manual therapy, strength training and mobilizations of certain joints, Utley said.

"I don’t really have a timeline on when I’ll be available,” Utley said. “I’m going to take this process fairly slow because I think it’s important to get everything around my knees working correctly.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time. I’m disappointed. I’m upset. I’m not happy I’m in this situation right now, but I’m not going to let that deter me and get me down.”

Utley, 33, said he is suffering from chondromalacia patella, a roughening of the cartilage under his left knee. He said he is in less pain now than he was a year ago, when his right knee was more of the problem and caused him to miss the first 46 games.

The condition, he said, is not chronic.

“Once we get everything around my knees working correctly, I don’t know if it will be a problem,” Utley said. “I’ve already seen benefits over the past four or five days from doing some new exercises.

“I’m very optimistic that this is going to turn out well. But again, it’s going to take a little time, and I have to do this right. I think it’s important, not only for this year, but the rest of my career.

“I’m 33 years old. I know some people feel that’s old. But I still feel I have a lot of baseball left in me.”

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