Not as bad as first thought...
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones received good news on Wednesday, and it had nothing to do with the fact he was named the National League's Player of the Week.
While being evaluated by foot and ankle specialist Dr. John Gleason, Jones was relieved with the confirmation that his right foot ailment isn't nearly as severe as the nearly identical left foot injury that sidelined him for six weeks last year. Cleared to resume playing on a regular basis, he was placed back in Wednesday night's lineup against the Cardinals.
"There's still some discomfort in there," Jones said. "But I'm going to play out the string before the break. If I still have discomfort on Sunday, I'll probably have a cortisone shot so that I'll have the whole All-Star break for it to take effect."
If Jones does have a setback in any of the final games before the break, he'll likely get the anti-inflammatory injection a little earlier. But the belief is that he'll be able to play through the discomfort without further aggravating the injury.
"We were pleased with what [Gleason] said and his report on the MRI," Braves head trainer Jeff Porter said. "Most of all, we're pleased with Chipper's progress so far. He's done very well. He wants to play and feels like playing."
When MRI results were announced on Monday night, it was revealed that Jones had partially torn a ligament at the bottom of the second toe in his right foot. But with the progress the veteran third baseman showed after resting the previous two days, Gleason believes that there isn't a tear.
Instead, Porter said the determination is that there is simply inflammation around the ligament located at the bottom of the second toe of Jones' right foot. It's the same area that was affected on his left foot last year.
"It's the same injury, just not as severe," Porter said.
After resting and rehabbing on Monday and Tuesday, Jones was able to lessen the inflammation and discomfort. Last year's ailment, because it included a deep bone bruise, never realized such relief with the benefit of rest.
After initially suffering the injury while landing awkwardly on third base during an April 24 game, Jones continued to battle the pain while occasionally taking a few days to rest. But after swinging and missing a pitch on June 5, the discomfort reached the unbearable point and led to his left foot being placed in a restrictive boot for six weeks.
"I don't have that much pain this year," Jones said.
Jones' discomfort hasn't affected his offensive production. He hit .500 (12-for-24) with three homers last week to earn the NL Player of the Week honor that was announced Wednesday afternoon.
But he'll certainly have more trouble hitting from the right side of the plate, where he's forced to push off with his right foot. Last year, it was just the opposite. But given he has more at-bats from the left side of the plate, this right foot injury won't prove to be as much of a burden.
Still Jones contends that he plans to play on an everyday basis and won't take a day off simply because the opposing team is starting a left-handed pitcher.
"Last year, he just couldn't do it," Porter said. "This year, it's a completely different animal."
Jones' foot problems are caused by bunions. They are so severe that he's unable to walk on the hardwood floors at his house without some sort of shoe with a padded sole. Two years ago, he went to Japan to allow Mizuno the opportunity to make a mold of his foot, from which the company designs his shoes.
Jones has been told that surgical procedures to remove the bunions could lead to even more discomfort and cause him to miss an extended period of time.
"I've done everything," Jones said. "I've just got some bad feet and I'm just going to have to deal with it."
"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax