Chipper put on DL, undergoes surgery
Operation on torn meniscus could cost third baseman 2-3 weeks
PHILADELPHIA -- Chipper Jones dealt with discomfort in his right knee over the past couple weeks. But with the All-Star break approaching and Martin Prado on the verge of returning to the Braves, Jones decided it was a good time to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee.
Jones underwent a surgical procedure in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon and is expected to return in two to three weeks. After looking at the damage, Dr. Marvin Royster was surprised the veteran third baseman had been able to continue playing the past couple weeks.
"I just don't want to have something happen in September and miss the playoffs," Jones said via text message.
Jones was placed on the disabled list Saturday and he will not travel to Phoenix to experience this week's All-Star festivities. The 39-year-old earned his seventh career All-Star selection last weekend.
Jones sent Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez a congratulatory text after Saturday's 4-1 win over the Phillies and told him he plans to attend Thursday's team workout at Turner Field.
"I think the timing was perfect for him to get this done," Gonzalez said. "We get him with fresh legs the rest of the way and healthy. I know it will be a big help for us."
Because he feels most of his discomfort hitting from the right side of the plate, Jones opted to play Friday night's game against Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay. With left-handers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels scheduled to start the final two games of this series, he and the Braves decided it was best to start his All-Star break and disabled list clock a little early.
While Jones likely won't be ready on July 24, when he is eligible for activation, he could return by the end of this month. By going on the disabled list now, the he has given himself a chance to expire some of his DL time during this upcoming week's All-Star break.
When Prado returns from a staph infection Friday, he will serve as the Braves' third baseman. This means Nate McLouth will continue serving as the starting left fielder for at least a couple more weeks.
"I think that knee has been bothering him for a while," Gonzalez said. "Knowing him, knowing Prado was out of the lineup, he was trying to grind through it. Who knows with the discomfort of the knee and the pain and that kind of stuff. Trying to perform in a Major League game takes its toll. But he knew he had to try to be in that lineup as much as he could."
Jones received a cortisone injection on Sunday and rested Monday, before playing each of the Braves' past four games. He recorded two hits off Halladay on Friday night and scored from second base on a second-inning single.
But after the game, Jones said, "It's not getting any better" in reference to his knee.
When Jones first learned he had a torn meniscus on May 15, he received a cortisone injection that provided nearly five weeks worth of relief. He hoped this latest injection might allow him to finish the season without having surgery.
The Braves recalled Brandon Hicks from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace Jones on the roster. Hicks has batted .267, with 14 homers and a .529 slugging percentage in 187 at-bats with Gwinnett this year.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.