About a week ago, a MRI revealed that Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley had patellar tendinitis in his right knee.  He was prescribed rest and expected to show improvement quickly.

But after a full week of rest, Utley reported that he did not feel any better.  So today, he was given a cortisone injection in an attempt to reduce the swelling.

The quiet and reserved Utley normally says very little in regards to his physical condition.  But in an interview today with Phillies beat-writer, Todd Zolecki, Utley said, ” There is a little bit of concern.”

Knowing Utley’s usual demeanor, to hear him utter the words “a little bit of concern,” is akin to a normal person shouting, “Fire! Fire!” and sounding a very loud alarm.  This is not good news.

Worse than Utley’s own words is the fact that a cortisone injection was needed.  If a week of rest did nothing to alleviate the pain, one could speculate that the condition is more serious than originally diagnosed.

Patellar tendinitis can lead to small tears in the tendons over time and weakening or tears of the knee cartilage.  If that occurs, surgery may be needed.  The minimum recovery time of such a surgery is usually at least six months.

While that may be jumping ahead a just a tad, the reality is that a cortisone injection to the knee is very bad news.  Any swelling that cannot be reduced by rest indicates a real problem.

Should the Phillies sound the alarm and start looking for help at second base?  It may be too early for that, however, it also could not hurt to have a back-up plan.

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