Utley has cortisone injection; injury could be worse

Chase Utley's knee could be worse than originally thought. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The week-long rest for Chase Utley had done nothing to improve the patellar tendinitis in his right knee that has prevented the Phillies second baseman from playing this spring. So the team took the next step Friday morning and administered a cortisone injection into Utley's right knee.

The Phillies won't know for a few days if the cortisone shot works to alleviate the pain. There is some concern the injury could be worse than originally diagnosed.

"We feel it's patellar tendinitis," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Could it be more than that? Perhaps. I just right now... that’s what we have."

Utley, who has experienced the tendinitis in his knee before, making it chronic, said it has never lingered this long.

"I've had it maybe in terms of pain here and there," Utley said. "But this is lingering longer than it has in the past. So with that said, there is a little bit of level of concern. But I think we're doing the right things to try to get it better."

Utley said he's concerned it could be worse, but doctors have not told him anything to indicate that. Amaro said the MRI done on Utley's knee Feb. 26 showed no structural damage.

"I think we have an idea of what's causing it, it's just not progressing," Amaro said.

The GM repeated it is patellar tendinitis. So what is the cause of that?

"We're still piecing this together," Amaro said.

Utley has been prevented from running or fielding drills since being diagnosed with the tendinitis. He is still hitting during batting practice and did so again Saturday.

Neither Amaro nor Utley would say what is next if the cortisone shot doesn't work.

"The whole goal for me is to try to get this fixed as soon as possible, but also keep it in perspective," Utley said. "I have to keep it right for the long haul as well. I think we're making the right progressions.

He added: "I don't think at this point I'd be much help to our team or to myself."

More to come in Sunday's Inquirer.

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