10:50 a.m. Friday update:
The Cardinals announced that the arthroscopy on Lance Berkman’s right knee today “found a partial tear in the medial meniscus, which was removed, and a … cartilage tear, which was debrided.”
No mention was made of damage to the anterior cruciate ligament — which Berkman had feared — in the team’s news release.
The first baseman will begin his recovery in Houston, where the surgery took place, and will return to St. Louis for the latter part of his rehabilitation. The team has issued an initial projection of eight to 10 weeks for Berkman’s recovery and rehab.
STLtoday.com will have more on this story as it develops.
Our earlier update on Berkman, published late Thursday night:
Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman rescheduled Thursday’s surgery on his right knee for this morning due to a scheduling conflict involving an attending orthopedist.
Today’s procedure probably will determine whether Berkman will appear again for the Cardinals this season, or for any club in the next 6-12 months. Berkman suggested earlier this week that today’s outcome could cause him to weigh retirement based on its rehab.
Berkman’s knee buckled during last Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, causing significant damage to the surrounding meniscus and other cartilage.
Berkman disclosed Thursday that today’s procedure may be the first of a two-step process should Houston orthopedist Dr. Mark Adickes and attending orthopedist Dr. Tom Clanton determine that he requires a replacement of his anterior cruciate ligament. Berkman’s season would be over if the procedure is necessary; however, Berkman may have to wait up to two months for the actual transplant.
Berkman cited the “potential complexities” of the surgery as a major reason why he asked for Thursday’s delay.
A former Rice University and Houston Texans team orthopedist, Clanton is very familiar with Berkman’s medical history and is the reason Berkman initially planned to visit the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., for the procedure. Clanton currently serves at the clinic.
Berkman required an ACL replacement on the same knee in November 2004. Because of that, Adickes may remove the ligament and graft bone into holes where the original transplant was woven through the thighbone and shinbone. Recovery is estimated at 6-12 months.
Another possible procedure involves microfracture, or drilling holes into a bone to promote regeneration of cartilage sheared from the area when Berkman stretched for a throw from shortstop Rafael Furcal last weekend at Dodger Stadium. Otherwise, Berkman’s condition would approach bone on bone. Berkman would remain on crutches unable to place any weight on the leg for at least six weeks following the procedure.
An MRI scan this week revealed a sizeable flap of cartilage torn from the tip of Berkman’s femur. Meniscus was also sheared from the inside and outside of the knee, suggesting a high degree of instability.
Berkman admitted following Monday’s MRI that he is uncomfortable playing with his suspected condition. he has not been able to straighten the knee since dropping to the ground following the second inning Saturday.
The best-case scenario involves a simple cleanup of the damaged cartilage. that scenario, according to several sources in addition to Berkman, appears overly optimistic.
After the defensive trouble that marred their recent 1-4 West Coast road trip, the Cardinals did not commit an error during their three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres. they handled 116 chances flawlessly while throwing out two base-stealers during the series. The Cardinals improved to 21-9 when playing error-free ball. …
The Cardinals reached 44 games with three players who have generated at least 30 RBIs. Right fielder Carlos Beltran, third baseman David Freese and left fielder Matt Holliday have reached the threshold. The Cardinals accomplished the feat five times previously, as long ago as 1921 and as recently as 2003, according to the club. …
Lefthanded reliever Clay Zavada has made two scoreless outings at Class AAA Memphis since being signed last week as a minor-league free agent. The Cardinals continue to examine options to replace J.C. Romero as the bullpen’s second lefthander. Romero signed a minor-league contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.