Carlos Beltran Surgery: What to Expect in 2010

The writing was on the wall last season for Carlos Beltran when he was confined to exercising in a pool for a significant part of the year. All of the symptoms – right knee pain with weight bearing, pain with any type of jogging or running, cutting and pivoting, swelling – all screamed to an articular cartilage problem. The “bone bruise”, as it was diagnosed, was actually Osteoarthritis (OA). Bone bruises are painful much in the same way as OA, but they get substantially better given enough time. OA really does not.

It is now announced that he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee today – a surgery that will certainly sideline him for three months, and in most cases for people who have this done, longer. It is interesting to note that Beltran went with his own physician – Dr. Richard Steadman (Colorado), who is one of the foremost leaders in microfracture surgery anywhere.

Could he be back in three to four months? Sure he could, but it is not likely. Every knee is different, and depending on the location of the cartilage defect, the size and the depth of the defect, recovery could be different. Not to mention that each individual deals with injury differently, and perceives pain differently. There’s really no easy answer.

Beltran should miss the entire Spring Training schedule, but it really would not surprise me if he struggled with his rehab and has this linger into May or June. I say this due to the chronic nature of his knee pain and the fact that with any chronic, painful condition, what once were normal movement patterns can become quite altered (compensatory gait, altered balance and motor skills/proprioception about the joint).

Even if he does come back this season, what are the chances that he will have the same speed, agility, and explosiveness that has made him a fantasy mainstay for so many years? We already know that he is not a lock for a high batting average (although he has had a couple .300-plus seasons), and his stolen base totals are now going to be on life support. He has also had a three-year decline in his SLG%, ISO, and HR totals, and has become more of a ground ball hitter, as evidenced by his three-year increase in GB%.

I am ignoring him completely in all draft formats, unless it is an NL-only league with a couple of DL spots for stashing.

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Comments

  1. Craig said...

    This is confirmed he underwent microfracture surgery?  This is different from previous reports he had his knee scoped.

    Isn’t Allen Houston still trying to recover from the same surgery a few years ago?

  2. Cleon Jones said...

    Either you’re one hell of a reporter or you need to check you facts concerning Beltran’s surgery.  I’ve been following this story since it broke and NO ONE else has claimed he had microfracture surgery.  Get the facts straight before you start prattling away, please!

  3. Jamie said...

    Joel Sherman, of the NY Post, twittered on Jan 13th that the procedure was microfracture surgery – that’s a fact.

  4. Chris N said...

    Cleon,

    I actually wrote this article the day of his surgery, which was when the reports were out that it was a microfracture procedure, so it’s not like I wrote this in the last couple of days. 

    If it was not a microfracture (which is done arthroscopically), then it was a chondroplasty – i.e. a debridement/clean out/“scope”. Typically, chondroplasties do not carry such a lengthy recovery time, which would mean that if it were a chondroplasty, it was a fairly substantial one to carry a 12-week recovery time.

    Since Dr. Steadman is virtually the pioneer of Microfracture surgery, it is very possible that he could have had a microfracture.

    Beltran’s knee has some definite osteoarthritic changes that required attention. The difference between the procedures is that the chondroplasty has a much lesser recovery time and does not have the strict weight bearing restrictions that the microfracture has. This will likely limit his stolen base totals in 2010 and beyond, regardless of what procedure it was.

  5. Chris N. said...

    Not to mention, this is a public relations nightmare for the Mets, so we may not get the full disclosure on this for a while…especially since Beltran didn’t go with their Doctor (Dr. Altchek), and instead went with Dr. Steadman.

  6. Chris N. said...

    Stu,
    Not necessarily, but if it was microfracture, the 12-week recovery time is certainly optimistic to say the least. The recovery time on these procedures can be highly variable. He should be back in 2010 – it is just a question of when.

  7. DonCoburleone said...

    This is great stuff if you’re NOT a Mets fan.  The Mets are a Mess and will continue to be for some time.  Anyone who is a fan of this team and believes they can compete with the Phillies or Braves (or Marlins for that matter) this upcoming season is nothing but a true Homer.  Johan Santana is coming off his first injury plagued season (an ELBOW injury by the way), John Maine has more than 25 starts in a season once in his career and Olly Perez is Olly Perez. The most reliable starter on the team is headcase Mike Pelfrey, and by “reliable” I mean he can be relied on to make 30 starts at a 4.50 ERA. 

    The bullpen stinks and is anchored by a closer who has been getting progressively worse for 3 straight seasons now.  And the offense is Carlos “?” Beltran, Jose “?” Reyes, Luis “$30MM” Castillo, David “slap hittin” Wright, and Jeff “never saw a pitch he didn’t like and STILL believes that is the best way for him to approach hitting” Francoeur.  If EVERYTHING falls into place perfectly, the Mets are still a 3rd place team…

    Face the facts Mets fans, Omar Minaya has run this organization into the ground and it’ll be a long time (and a new GM) before you sniff the playoffs again…

  8. Paul said...

    “Omar Minaya has run this organization into the ground” might be the understatement of the decade (the decade to come and the one that just past). I guess free reign IS free reign and the Wilpons just will let him go at it as long as they might manage to get people to come out to Citi Field Amusement Park.
      Kind of ironic – “Citi” losses another $7.6 billion and they’re associated with the Mets whose owners lost their shirts to Madoff…..

  9. Paul Moehringer said...

    This whole thing is just bizare.

    What it does show though is that the fans who said one of the big problems with the Mets lied with the training staff may have been right all along.

    At the very least it shows at least one major star on the team doesen’t believe the training staff, and it was so great he was willing to risk part of his salary.

    All I’m going to say that if the Mets get off to a bad start, if you think people are calling for Minaya’s head now, wait until we get to June if he even lasts that long.

  10. Pochucker said...

    Im a Met fan but trust me it doesent matter what kind of surgery Beltran had,microfracture or run of the mill arthroscopic surgery, he will not be back in 2010. You can book it!

  11. The A Team said...

    Don-

    I’m not sure Omar makes it to April…

    The Wilpons actually made money in the Madoff scheme.  Last I heard (and I haven’t checked into it for months) the government was considering reclaiming some of those profits.

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