Chipper Jones knee surgery delays retirement party

David Brown
Big League Stew

This is what Chipper Jones meant when he said his body can't make it through a major-league season anymore. The Braves announced Saturday that Jones will have surgery on his right knee to repair torn meniscus. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez hopes Jones can be back in time for the team's home opener April 13 (not June, silly), but he might be out longer. This will be his sixth knee surgery. It seems like more.

Jones, who turns 40 in April, injured his knee when he slipped during the team's pregame stretch Thursday, about an hour before a news conference in which he announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2012 season.

Oh, ironic knee.

Reporter David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Gonzalez's timetable for Jones might be a little too hopeful:

He had similar surgery for torn meniscus in his left knee last summer, which kept him out of the All-Star game. Jones was back in the lineup 2-1/2 weeks after that surgery, but Gonzalez pointed out Saturday that he was in midseason form then and might require a bit longer to recover from this procedure.

Really, Chipper's Body? You couldn't at least let him get through spring training without putting him out of action? The Braves do have Martin Prado to play third base in Chipper's absence, but they're never quite the same without Jones in the lineup. I guess we'll have to get used to that permanently soon, hmm?

And if the Houston Astros were planning on saying good-bye with an elaborate going-away party any time from April 7-9 when the Braves visit (their only trip to Minute Maid this season) the shindig will be a little flat with Chipper out of the lineup. Or, possibly, not even there.

You see, this is another reason why the National League just needs to adopt the designated hitter. It would allow Jones a break from fielding, it would keep his bat in the lineup, it would extend his career and make everyone happier as a result. I'm sure we all agree.

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