Carlos Beltran’s Mysterious Knee Surgery

In case you missed it, Carlos Beltran had knee surgery in Colorado on Wednesday. That’s about all we know for sure. He might have had “microfracture surgery”, which is pretty darn serious, or he may have had “arthroscopic surgery”, which is relatively routine. We’ve also been told by the Mets that he will be out for “12 weeks”, which makes sense for neither possibility.

Here is the exact quote from the official Mets press release:

He elected to undergo arthroscopic clean out of the arthritic area of his knee by Beltran’s personal physician Dr. Richard Steadman today in Colorado. He is anticipated to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks.

Considering the recent history of medical reports from Mets officials, it is hard to know what to believe.

If indeed it was microfracture surgery, the recovery time is at least 4 months, but could be as long as 8 — or a year, or a year and a half. There’s really no way to know for sure, as everyone is different.

On the other hand, athletes usually resume activities from a simple ‘scope of the knee in 6-8 weeks — sometimes sooner.

So now you can understand why the 12-week number stated by the Mets’ press release is mysterious.

Knee4As if that weren’t enough to confuse things, microfracture surgery is something that is performed via arthroscopy. Get it? So in other words, you can have arthroscopic surgery without having microfracture surgery, but you can’t have microfracture surgery without having a ‘scope. Clear as mud?

That said, if it is reported that Beltran had a ‘scope, it would be correct regardless of whether the surgery was a simple cleaning or if it included the microfracture procedure. And therein lies the mystery.

Oh, and if you re-read the above quote from the Mets’ press release, you’ll see it was Dr. Richard Steadman who performed the surgery. Steadman is the man who pioneered microfracture surgery.

The 12 weeks spit out by the Mets’ crack PR team is what makes things suspicious, because it takes the blood clot formed by microfracture surgery at least 8-15 weeks to heal — and the number 12 is right in the middle of that range. Mind you, the healing of the clot is only step one of the recovery process. From the research available on the information superhighway, if indeed he had microfracture surgery, Beltran would GET OFF CRUTCHES after 8-15 weeks — I’m not sure what kind of “baseball activities” are possible immediately thereafter. Maybe it means he can start autographing baseballs or break in a new glove.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia in regard to the sensitive nature of the recovery period:

Microfracture surgery itself is relatively minor. It is an outpatient procedure and causes only small discomfort. The harder part is the restrictions that are placed on the patient during the post-operative recovery period. This can be a major challenge for many patients. For optimal re-growth of joint surface, the patients need to be very patient and also extremely cooperative. They usually need to be on crutches for four to six weeks (sometimes longer). Sometimes a brace is needed. This all depends on the size and/or location of the joint surface defect that is being repaired or regenerated. The patients are encouraged to spend approximately 6-8 hours a day on a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine that helps with optimal re-growth of joint surface. Patients usually feel pretty good and think they can avoid these critically important steps, and even start running and jumping (or playing sports) before the internal aspects of the knee, and the joint surface, are ready.

Sounds pretty dangerous, no? If a determined athlete — such as Beltran — decides to push himself to recover quickly, it could have devastating consequences. Considering that Beltran is going to make $37M over the next two years regardless of whether he sets foot on the field, and that he probably has a shot at one more big payday before he retires, you’d think that agent Scott Boras will recommend insist that Beltran go the cautious route, taking all the time he needs.

Quite a conundrum.

There are already rumors flying that the Mets were not on board with Beltran’s decision to have the surgery, and that they may sue Beltran for his salary. Per Joel Sherman:

A person familiar with the situation told the Post that the Commissioners Office and the Players Association have been alerted that “the Mets are claiming this was done without clearance and that the Mets are threatening to take some form of action. There is a potential issue out there.”

That’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.

Here’s the bottom line: if indeed Beltran had microfracture surgery — and all signs seem to be pointing that way — there’s no way he’ll be playing before June. In fact there is a very real possibility he misses the entire 2010 campaign. This isn’t panic, it’s a statement of reality — not unlike the statement I posted here last May in regard to Jose Reyes.

Mind you, I don’t point out these possibilities because I want to be right, or so I can say “I told you so” later on. Rather, I’m evaluating the situation realistically, and understanding that the Mets will need to have a solid plan in place in preparation for the worst scenario NOW, rather than scrambling later (see: Angel Berroa, Wilson Valdez, Anderson Hernandez, et al). Maybe the Mets can survive the year and compete for a postseason spot with Angel Pagan in centerfield all year. Or, maybe they need to look for an alternative, in case Pagan doesn’t work out (Rick Ankiel? Jeremy Reed? would they be crazy enough to trade for Gary Matthews, Jr. ?).

No matter which way you scope out this situation, it is not good news for the Mets.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 January 14, 2010 at 2:14 am
    Not even Ringling Bros.

    The Mets are truly The Big Apple Circus.

  2. Paul January 14, 2010 at 8:53 am
    Same stuff, different year.
  3. TheDZA January 14, 2010 at 9:52 am
    Boras…Always Boras…
    This guy seemingly cannot be flushed.
  4. isuzudude January 14, 2010 at 11:01 am
    Total kick to the nay-nays. And here I thought the curse of 2009 would end with the turn of the calendar. I guess this black cloud is more chronic than first thought.

    You are 100% right, Joe, in that the Mets need to be prepping themselves for the worst case scenario NOW, and that is if Beltran misses the entirety of 2010. Having endured the ’09 campaign, one would think the Mets wouldn’t need reminding of this, but I doubt they’re as up to speed on things as the rest of us.

    As I see it, there are 3 ways the Mets can go now in order to prepare for a season sans Carlos Beltran.
    #1 – the Mets can give the CF job to Angel Pagan and add a new jack-of-all-trades OF who can slide into Pagan’s old role. Candidates via free agency include Randy Winn, Jerry Hairston Jr, Reed Johnson, Gabe Gross, Ryan Freel, Endy Chavez, Jeremy Reed, and Cory Sullivan. Considering that Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur are likely to be 155+ start players, and Pagan would/could play everyday as well, the 4th OF wouldn’t need to be acquired for his starting ability, but instead his defensive prowess (spelling late in games for Bay, being inserted during a double switch, etc) and knack for getting a pinch hit. Of the candidates above, I think Hairston, Johnson, or a healthy Chavez (who is out until May) are the best options. This plan also would give the Mets a stronger bench, with Pagan and Hairson/Johnson/Chavez in reserve roles, if Beltran comes back.
    #2 – The Mets leave Pagan as the 4th OF and sign a free agent CF. This would include the names above in addition to Rick Ankiel and Johnny Damon. This option, to me, seems highly unlikely, since Ankiel’s bat is lacking, Damon’s defense is lacking, and both are likely to ask for more than the Mets can afford – especially considering the team still has to spend more money on a starting catcher and 1 or 2 more starting pitchers. And guys like Winn and Gross don’t bring anything more to the table than what Pagan could already provide.
    #3 – the Mets trade for a starting CF/4th OF. Gary Matthews’ name has been mentioned, and though his contract and sub-par play of late make him very undesirable, he’s still an option nonetheless, and probably could be had for next to nothing. There are plenty of other names that have been rumored to be on the block this offseason, but I don’t want to get into that. Instead, since it seems like an Aaron Harang or Bronson Arroyo trade from Cincinnati makes so much sense, how about getting the Reds to throw in one of their OFs? Willie Tavares had a bad ’09 and may be ripe for the picking for cheap. He comes with a great defensive reputation and has barn-burning speed. I wouldn’t start him over Pagan, but I could see him getting about 300 ABs in a Beltran-less outfield and getting plenty of pinch-hitting, pinch-running, and defensive-replacement opportunities. He’s only under contract for one more season at $4-mil, so he’d essentially be the 1-yr stopgap we’re looking for. This is just a proposal and I’m not marrying myself to it, but would the Reds consider a Pelfrey/Parnell/Castillo/Familia/Flores package for Arroyo/Phillips/Tavares?

  5. CatchDog January 14, 2010 at 11:59 am
    On the other hand, I’ve been very optimistic about our batboys. They are by far some of the best in baseball.
  6. Mic January 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm
    I like dudes thoughts.

    HOWEVER: I’d rather lose CB now than in June….like last yr.

  7. gary s. January 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm
    i’ll play devils advocate and say maybe there is a silver lining to this.look into this operation from a legal viewpoint..if there is any way to cut beltran for violating his contract do it.That would free up 37 million dollars.than look for another outfielder who can give us a good 250-300 ab’s.forget about chavez.too old and injury prone.we need to get younger and replace some of the core.delgado is history, if beltran needed microfracture work, at his age he’s probably done too.if somehow reyes gets to july in one piece (??) trade him for prospects before he breaks down.The core on this team is rotten and needs to be replaced.We came up short in previous years when they were all healthy, it’s time to cut bait and change this team.Will the met front office have the brains to figure this out or just going back to the same failed plan to sell tickets?? p.s. the most mind blowing thing about beltran is not only did he have non authorized surgery, but the mets don’t even know wHat kind of surgery he had..MIND BOGGLING!!
  8. Harry Chiti January 14, 2010 at 9:27 pm
    gary s. you are not being serious are ya man?. You gotta be funnin everyone. you gonna go out and just find some star to replace Beltran with a snap of the fingers or something. what ballplayer do you think is gonna want to come and work for an org that just did what yous suggest? the only ones who will come are those that can’t get jobs in KC or Pittsburgh. And who do you think you’d get. Dye, Damon? Thanks for the attempted humor but Letterman you ain’t.
  9. gary s. January 15, 2010 at 1:32 am
    h.c., u named yourself after a player who was traded for himself and u accuse me of not being serious (lol) .. when beltran is still on the d.l. in july u gonna still find this funny?? look up arthritic knees.than see how many 33 year old cf’s in mlb play 150 games a year with them.we have 10 weeks to fill the hole in cf.we can’t “snap our fingers” abd get an allstar, but there is no excuse not to obtain someone for a year to help u have a better idea??
  10. IveMetFan January 15, 2010 at 4:39 am
    I told you Pagan should be starting this year. I didn’t want it at the expense of one of the most talented players in the MLB. I believe Beltran 100%. He doesn’t have that kind of attitude to be a rebel and go against the orders of the team. I feel he took the proper steps and if OMAR MINAYA knew about this then it is OMARS FAULT! He was with Jeff Wilpon in the Owners meetings. All it takes is a couple of phone calls back to NY to COMMUNICATE to others the news.

    There are too many people working the Mets Front Office. Most of those people have jobs just cause they need a job. To many layers in the Mets FO will cause miscommunication. EVER PLAY THE TELEPHONE GAME. There should be only 1-2 people who are in charge who make the decisions and that should be Omar and Jeff.

    I feel Jeff Wilpon hasn’t got a clue on how to run a baseball team and is learning on the job. He is dictating what happens and Omar is his puppet. Omar is a good GM he made some good trades and got some good free agents to come here. I feel he is even better then other GM’s cause he has to be good and deal with the owners and the other people who work in the FO who have no clue what they are doing.

    At least Beltran got the surgery and we can hope he will be back in i say early to mid May.Pagan will be fine.

  11. IveMetFan January 15, 2010 at 4:49 am
    The way this team dealt with injuries last year. I would’ve done the same thing. I wouldn’t let those doctors touch me. Beltran made the smart move. He got surgery quickly. The Mets wanted to drag it out get a third opinion. The have got to be kidding. The man wouldn’t get surgery just to get surgery. HE NEEDED SURGERY. The quicker he got the surgery the faster he can recover. The Mets were upset because he didnt wait. Wait for what? Were they waiting for a miracle? Beltrans knee was going to heal by itself? Or were they goin to give him shot after shot after shot throughout the season? The man was hurting. He got it done so the Mets should just deal with it. Stop calling out your best player. It doesn’t look good. The rest of baseball thinks we are a joke. Now instead of working together to prove them wrong, they turn on eachother and point fingers. ITS EMBARRASSING.
  12. Harry Chiti January 15, 2010 at 9:09 am
    gary s. Its not nice to make fun of the dead. My name on this site has nothing to do with your idiotic plan. “Go get a star”. where you gonna get one from gary? Name one star who is available in mid January? There, the list is empty. Know why gary. Because they don’t just come to you because the second class team in NYC wants one. Its so easy to get a star gary how come we couldn’t get rid of Castillo, how come Mauer ain’t coming to fill out catching hole, how come Gonzalez ain’t coming to be our first baseman, how come we can’t get a # 2 to come and be our #2 starter? Good thought gary. play your fantasy game all you want but try smack talking a little better because if that pathetic attempt is all you got your 15 minutes of “fame” is over.
  13. isuzudude January 15, 2010 at 9:49 am
    Pardon the interuption, Harry, but point out where gary said to “go get a star.” I’m not finding it. And if it’s not there, I would advise you not to put words in other people’s mouths.

    All gary is saying is that he believes Beltran’s knees will give him problems over the rest of his career, so if there’s a way the Mets can trade or dump him while shedding his salary, then they should do it. You may not agree with that idea, but it’s not an irrational plan. He’s also saying the Mets should prepare for 2010 as if Beltran will not be available, and to acquire “someone for a year to help out.” Again, not a bad idea. So I have no idea where you’re coming up with this “go get a star” angle. At least gary is trying to find a solution to this mess; I haven’t heard peep from you aside from your bogus accusations and snide remarks. Do you have any ideas on how to fix the Beltran fiasco, or do you prefer to be Phil Mushnick and always criticize others’ ideas while never contributing any of your own?

  14. KD January 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm
    I read this site everyday and that includes the comments after the articles. I do not think that I have ever read a more pointless attacking post then the one by HC. Go back to the post by Gary where his first words are ‘I’ll play devils advocate’ then go look up what that means…
  15. Harry Chiti January 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm
    isuzudude You are so deep in your ego that you actually think you are the GM. You guys make the Mets great especially isuzudude who writes a meaningless novella on every post. Well, you are a good replacement for sleeping pills isuzudude. Enjoy your fantasy as Omar. Enjoy your fantasy a sbeing the all knowing Met GM. You are actually the most boring poster anywhere on the ionternet. Al Gore is going to uninvent the net just to get you off it. Thankfully, Omar doesn’t yap nearly as much as you do.
    If any of you had any knowledge of baseball, you’d know that you can’t replace a star. So you are all major league jerks. Congrats at stardom, especially Mr No doz replaceement.
  16. isuzudude January 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm
    Thanks for that enlightening and eloquently stated response, Harry. The world is a better place because of your snide criticisms, that’s for sure.

    I find it quite contradictory, though, that seemingly every poster on here never meets your standards and is boring beyond belief, but somehow you are awake and engaged enough to be one of the more frequent posters here. The truth of the matter is that you’re just a big-mouthed toughguy who hides behind his computer and spends all his spare time looking for ways to put down others. What a winner!

    With your thoughtless and meaningless methods of expressing yourself, it won’t be long until we all tune you out anyway. So enjoy talking to yourself for the foreseeable future.

  17. IveMetFan January 16, 2010 at 2:53 am
    Why would you PLAY Devil’s Advocate. It’s either you are or you aren’t. Anyway, trading Beltran is not very smart for three reasons. One is because of his contract the second is because he has a bad knee. The third is, who are you going to find who is better? You can’t trade Beltran for Carl Crawford without giving the Rays other talent. Id rather have a healthy Beltran anyways. Beltran will be fine. Give him til at least mid May to see how he feels and looks before the Mets think to trade him.
  18. mic January 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I am more than a little disappointed with the net take home from these posts. I think heyman is (of all people) the best media source that aligns with MY opinion.

    CB has had trouble with his knees for years. considering the season finished 3 months ago, CB AND THE METS have had a chance to assess health concerns. IF CB is right and the wear of an injury filled season has not relented he needs attention. WHAT IS DISAPPOINTING is the mets think steroids and tylenol would have gotten him thru the season…..much like the thought about Maine’s shoulder, Santana’s elbow and Delgado’s hip…that is gambling with alot of $$$

    I am with CB. He has given the Mets a chance at 500 ABs whereas they could have gambled themselves into 100.

    Plus he forces the Mets to shore up the OF with players not named Chip Ambres and Jesus Feliciano.

    This again highlights WAY MORe than anything else how cancerous the Mets management arm has become.

    The Mets should have embraced this oppurtunity to show that the Ryan Church era was over (….how many opinions did it take there? …or the reyes issues….if he is healthy…how long?), and now they need to mend fences with CB, who is NOT replaceable by Gary Matthews Jr.

  19. IveMetFan January 16, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Do you really think Jon Heyman is a reputable source in the MLB? He has some knowledge of game but not more than most. He is the biggest Yankee GROUPIE in the world. Most of the free agents that he is questioned about, to him the Yankees are in the hunt or the favorite. He always finds a way to bring up the Yankees in all of his conversations. Dude we know your a Yankee fan. Don’t get all Peter Gammons on us. Heyman does no reasearch in the minors or has knowledge of players in the minors, he is not a numbers guy meaning he can’t ramble off stats, he doesn’t even know how the game is really played meaning running the bases, double switches, double steals, he can’t break down a hitters swings or a pitchers wind ups.

    All he does is hound people close to the organizations and tries to get the latest scoop on a big trade or free agent signing. Not a hard thing to do when you have the access he has. And he can’t even get the right alot of the times. He has his sources but this guy is not a baseball guy. He is just a middle man trying to put out information before its time to get it out to the public and benefit himself.

    I’m sick of these writers trying to get scoops and starting rumors. We don’t need them. If a move happens the fans will find out with or without them. They are just annoying middle men trying to get a piece of the baseball pie.

  20. IveMetFan January 16, 2010 at 9:44 pm
    I meant that for MIC. Sorry Joe.
  21. CatchDog January 17, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Welcome to the digital age. Where a rumor started in a chatroom somewhere can become a full blown trade; complete with numbers, on major websites less than a few hours later. Heyman is one of those that keeps the line moving. He’s just part of the process.

    Case in point; the proposed David Wright trade to the Red Sox. At the time, David was working with HoJo down here in Florida. I asked David about the rumor and got the “deer in the headlights look”. Enough said.

    Not long ago, unless you lived in the metropolitan area of the team that you followed, you kept up with your team by reading the tiny “transactions” boxes buried in the back of the sports pages. Anybody remember that ?

  22. gary s. January 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm
    now that we have all cleansed ourselves of our opinions on the beltran affair, does anyone on this blog or in the met front office absolutely know the exact type of surgery c.b. was the recipient of? just curious ..
  23. joejanish January 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    CatchDog – I remember clearly the days of rifling through the daily newspaper, pulling out the sports section, and scouring the pages for that little “Transactions” box. Also remember not getting the game score until 11:25 PM, right before the weather (not every game was on TV!).

    Gary – this is what’s really bugging me — they keep saying “scope” but we don’t know for sure if the microfracture thing occurred as well. Bothersome to say the least.

  24. mic January 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm
    John Ricco said it was not microfracture nor was he a candidate.

    WE DO know that CB has chronic knee pain probably arthritic in nature t. hus the scopeThe fact Willie R and JM think he can play 1,500 innings a year does not help.

  25. joejanish January 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm
    Mic – we know what Ricco tells us but we don’t know if he has the correct facts. We also don’t know if he is not telling us everything. It’s not like we have been given correct and honest info in the past regarding Mets injuries.
  26. IveMetFan January 18, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I think you said it best yourself. The David Wright trade proposal was ludacris. Guys like Jon Heyman start these rumors for their own benefit to keep themselves in the spotlight. Some of these rumors and trade proposals are insane. Most of the people on the blogs know more about baseball, stats, have better ideas about trades then Heyman. I think he is way over rated.

    I can just picture him hounding people around baseball tryin to get the latest scoop. Trying to make something out of nothing. Just so people can say “Jon Heyman reports……”. He must be annoying to people around baseball. If a team has a trade done or signs a free agent you will hear about it. Via the teams website, press release, press conference, newspaper, radio, tv etc. Just because Heyman reports something 3 days early

  27. IveMetFan January 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm
    doesn’t make it official. We still have to wait for someone from the teams organization to report it anyways. F the middle man. I hate yankee bandwagon people. Heyman is the biggest.