NY Sports Dog: Staying Optimistic on Beltran

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Staying Optimistic on Beltran

Although news of Beltran's knee surgery came as a surprise, now that we've had a night to let it sink in, there are reasons for optimism.

By way of background, Carlos Beltran had surgery on his troublesome right knee Wednesday and the All-Star center fielder will miss the start of the season. There are conflicting reports on whether or not the Mets gave their permission, but there is no question that Beltran and his doctors felt he needed the procedure to have a productive 2010 campaign.

And that's the real point here--having the surgery in mid-January, almost 3 months prior to the season's April 5th Opening Day, or having it later and delaying his season even further.

If the doctor's 8-12 week estimate is true, Beltran can reasonably be expected back in the lineup in mid-May.

Yes, this is absolutely bad news for the Mets, especially on the heels of 2009 when it seemed every player on the team went down with one ailment or another. In fact, the Mets had more disabled list days than any other team in history, and the record certainly showed it.

There is still the issue of whether or not Beltran's physician spoke with Mets medical personnel, but according to Beltran's agent, Scott Boras, Dr Steadman spoke with Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek on Monday and again after Beltran was examined in Colorado on Tuesday, and that Steadman obtained Altchek's consent for the surgery.

From the AP:
"Dr. Steadman has represented to us that he spoke with the Mets' physician and he received consent to go forward with the plan and the surgery," Boras said. "Dr. Steadman has told us that his office contacted the Mets trainer and obtained the appropriate insurance forms and received approval for payment to go ahead with the surgery."

"The doctor said eight weeks, possibly, and a window to 12 weeks to resume baseball activities. With elite athletes, the timetable is sometimes shorter than the original prognosis," Boras said.

In a statement released Wednesday night, the Mets said Beltran's osteoarthritis worsened during the offseason and he decided to have arthroscopic surgery to clean out the arthritic area of his knee.

The procedure was performed by Steadman, considered one of the top knee surgeons in the world. He is noted for his work performing microfracture knee surgery on basketball players.

Boras said Altchek had been examining Beltran once a month during the offseason.

"Since the beginning of November, he was feeling discomfort and pain," Boras said. "They found some fragments in there that had to be removed."

Mets fans are rightfully worried about these events, especially given that the team's rack record on injuries has been less than stellar. I also think they should remain optimistic that 4-6 early season weeks without Beltran is much better than the alternative of missing major chunks of time mid to late year.

For now Angel Pagan looks to be the leading contender to start the year in CF, though Rick Ankiel could be a decent stop-gap or platoon option and 4th outfielder.
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