Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Bended Knee

You know Carlos Quentin had surgery yesterday to repair a torn meniscus and clear out some loose cartilage on his right knee.  The Padres reported the surgery occurred at the Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley, and that the plan is he will return to playing in 4-6 weeks.

Let's do a little tea-reading here.  No one has reported where specifically Quentin's meniscus tore or how serious it was.  We do know he tweaked his knee on 9 Mar and played through it for a week before deciding on the surgery.  My detailed medical knowledge, culled from a single Google search on meniscus tears, can be summarized in this web link.

What is a meniscus?  It's the shock absorber between your leg bones that meet at the knee joint so they don't rub together.

I actually slipped my meniscus once while playing volleyball, causing the two bones to rub briefly against each other.  It is not a pleasant sensation.

Anywho, it is shaped like a horseshoe in your knee.  You can tear it in any number of ways, as evidenced in the below picture:

So where did Quentin tear his meniscus?  Longitudinal tears can heal themselves over time since that part of the meniscus has good blood flow; surgery usually is not required.  Based on the description of the procedure (trimming the tear) we can rule out transverse as well.  I think it most likely he had a flap or torn horn kind of injury.  That would also be consistent with finding loose cartilage in the knee when they did the arthroscope.

The good news about this procedure is it can be done on a not real invasive basis.  Once the swelling goes down and some healing is evident Quentin can start his rehab exercises.  Again I'm guessing, but I'd think he'd be ready to start rehab early next week, then work through 3 weeks of stabilization exercises, a week of extended spring training, and a week in the minors before returning to the big club.

How does this impact the lineup?  Well, it virtually guarantees Will Venable starting the season as your everyday RF.  It likely means Jesus Guzman starts the year as the everyday LF.  Venable has logged the most games in RF (7), and Guzman was second to Quentin in games played in LF, so far this spring (through Sunday's games).

This is good, because it means Guzman's bat will be in the lineup every day the first 2 weeks of the season. You know, only the team's best hitter last season (by OPS+).  The decision on how to keep his bat in the everyday lineup has been kicked down the road, and we'll look at that in a future post as well.

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