Posted on February 26, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Less than a week after feeling pain in his surgically-repaired knee, Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton appears to be headed for another surgery on that same knee. Hamilton is traveling to Houston on Sunday and the Rangers expect him to undergo an arthroscopic knee procedure on his left knee Monday.
Hamilton first felt pain in his knee while running during spring training drills last Tuesday. He was immediately dispatched to Houston to visit Dr. Walt Lowe, who performed knee surgery on Hamilton last summer. After receiving a plasma-rich platelet injection in his knee, Hamilton was hopeful that the issue was a minor setback. The original plan was for Hamilton to spend the weekend riding a stationary bike and then get back in the batting cage on Monday.
However, Hamilton is still not able to put any weight on his knee, forcing him back to Houston to see Dr. Lowe on Monday. As of Sunday evening, surgery on Hamilton’s knee is not scheduled, but Rangers assistant GM Mike Daly says there is “a good possibility” Dr. Lowe will advise Hamilton to have an arthroscopic procedure.
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“He wasn’t getting the response that he was hoping for,” Daley explains. “From his conversations, Dr. Lowe felt it was good for him to get back down there for another evaluation. We’ll know a lot more after that.”
Surgery could potentially keep Hamilton on the sidelines for four to six weeks, taking away any chance he has of making the club’s opening-day roster. The odds are already stacked against Hamilton, although with a strong performance during spring training, he could have forced his way onto the team.
Missing several weeks at this point would likely force Hamilton to spend a considerable amount of time in the minors with no guarantee of working his way back to the Rangers. Surgery could even mean the end of his baseball career, although the club is going to wait to discuss Hamilton’s future with him.
“I don’t think anybody wants to take it to that extreme,” Daly said about the injury forcing Hamilton to retire. “Josh has stated that he wants to play. That’s why he is in camp. He wants to play and we want him to play. We’ll see what happens after Dr. Lowe looks at him.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister also wants to wait until things play out. Banister says the Rangers will be patient with Hamilton as he continues to come back from the knee injury that forced him to miss all of the 2016 season.
“This is a guy with roots in this organization,” Banister said. “Everybody knows the history and the significance of what he’s been able to do. We still look at this as a player who is still talented and still has some capabilities. That part of it is there.”
Hamilton isn’t likely to back down from the challenge of coming back. However, there’s no denying that having to see Dr. Lowe twice in less than a week signals a serious setback for him. If he ends up having another surgery on his knee, it adds serious doubt to Hamilton making it back to the majors.