CLEARWATER, Fla. — Ryan Howard has indeed suffered a setback in his recovery from Achilles surgery and will be sidelined indefinitely following a procedure to clean an infection from his original wound.
Foot specialist Mark Myerson performed a "small procedure" Monday to remove the stitches from Howard's wound, Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said. Howard is on antibiotics and should return to camp sometime Wednesday. Myerson is the surgeon who originally operated on Howard's ruptured left Achilles last October.
Sheridan is unaware of when Howard will return to his rehab program. When asked if the delay would be days or weeks, Sheridan said, "I truly don't know that answer."
While Myerson was forced to reopen Howard's wound, he did find the structure of the rebuilt Achilles tendon remained intact.
"That was our biggest concern going into this," Sheridan said. "That was one of the things during the procedure he confirmed; the Achilles tendon is intact and not compromised. That's great news."
But now, Howard must heal this new wound. Sheridan said the team will be cautious this time to avoid any further problems later.
And the area where the procedure was done is notoriously a difficult place for a wound to heal.
"It's common for the skin behind the Achilles to have trouble healing," Sheridan said. "I wouldn't say it's common for the infection to occur. I do know it's a tough area to heal. It doesn't have a very good blood supply."
Sheridan once again refuted the idea this was a setback to Howard's recovery, despite him being inactive since Saturday.
The Phillies had publicly target a return for their first baseman sometime in May. Sheridan said he never had a timetable.
"I don't prefer to use that word," Sheridan said. "I know that's the word everyone wants to use. We never established a particular timetable for him. Right now, it's one of those things that happens in the rehab process. We just have to move forward from it."
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.