Phillies offseason medical updates

Ryan Howard has progressed to partial weight bearing after surgery, the Phillies announced. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard had his stitches removed earlier this week and has begun a rehab program in Philadelphia, the Phillies said today in a news release.

Howard ruptured his left Achilles on the final at-bat of the season in Game 5 of the NL Division Series.

The Phillies said Howard has "progressed to partial weight bearing."

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said Howard will be out at least 4 months and the team has been optimistic that he will be available for Opening Day.

In other medical upates, according to the Phillies:

· Third baseman Placido Polanco (sports hernia) had a followup exam with Dr. William Meyers, the Drexel-based surgeon, on Wednesday. Polanco will continue his rehabi in Miami.

· Cole Hamels had stitches removed from his left elbow yesterday. Hamels has surgery to remove loose bodies from the elbow. He will continue his rehab in Philadelphia. He had a followup exam for his hernia surgery today with Dr. Ernest Rosato. He has been cleared to progress back to his offseason program as tolerated.

· Rightfielder Hunter Pence continues his rehab in Philadelphia, following surgery for a sports hernia. He is scheduled to Myers next week.

· Righthander Jose Contreras (right forearm strain) was seen by team Dr. Michael Ciccotti last week and will begin "isometric forearm strengthening next week." The Phillies said he is on track to get to regular strengthening exercises in the early part of December and begin throwing at the beginning of January.

· Ross Gload will not need hip surgery, after seeing Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York on Oct. 18. Gload instead was set up with an offseason rehab program.