Jimmy Rollins sounds bearish on Ryan Howard's return

Jimmy Rollins is doubtful that Ryan Howard will play this season. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Jayson Stark, the venerable ESPN.com scribe and former Inquirer beat writer, has an interesting piece on the web site right now. It's always interesting to get the national perspective on things, and Stark's perspective sounds a lot like the local perspective. 

But the thing that really jumped out at me was this passage, where Stark talks to Jimmy Rollins about Ryan Howard's battle with an infection near his surgically-repaired Achilles. 

"I don't know what to think, honestly," Rollins tells Stark. "If you ask me, with this infection, I don't know if he's going to play this year, because after all the work that he's done, now he's got to hit the reset button."

Now, as Jayson points out, Rollins is not a doctor. But he is an athlete, as well as a friend of Howard's, and the fact that even he hasn't ruled out Howard missing the season should tell you something. 

It should be noted that Howard did a light work-out today. And he sounded optimstic during a chat with reporters, which you can read about here. 

"I mean, the leg is naturally going to atrophy if it's in a boot all this time and you're not getting the full use out of it," Rollins continued. "So he's built up strength, but it's not like he was 100 percent [before]. Now he needs to take a step back, and he's probably back down to the 25 to 40 percent range. . ."

"And it's a tough injury," Rollins goes on. "It's not like he's 150 pounds. He's a big man. And that's a very important part of his game, being able to be on his legs. He doesn't use his legs for speed like me. He uses his legs for power. So if he doesn't have any [strength in his] legs, all that power just goes away.

"Oh, he's definitely out for two months. I can pretty much guarantee you that," Rollins says. "And probably nothing before the All-Star break, unless it's like Albert Pujols' fracture [which magically healed itself in two weeks last summer]."

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