Howard and Utley Making Progress, But Still Have a Long Way to Go

Phillies Ryan Howard still rehabbing left Achilles injury he sustained in Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series.

By Chris Murray

of the CM Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

It’s still going to be a long time before you will be seeing injured Phillies, first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley back in the starting lineup, but they are making progress.

However, there is no timetable for their return to the Phillies lineup.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Howard visited Dr. Mark Myerson  in Baltimore  on Tuesday and said his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon is getting better.

“His Achilles is doing great, his strength is increasing and the wound is improved,” Amaro said. “It’s not all the way healed. That’s the priority right now. It’s get the wound healed. It’s healing up well, but it’s not 100 percent yet.”

Amaro said the team will be talking to the wound specialist at Jefferson Hospital to make sure t the wound on Howard’s left leg is healed. He said the wound came as a result of an infection last month that compromisd the stitches apparently had a hole big enough to fit two fingers inside of it . Wednesday, Howard was in the infield fielding ground balls during batting practice.

“He’s done a little jump rope, he’s done some strength things and we’re making sure we’re doing things that aren’t going to compromise the wound,” Amaro said. “The tendon is in great shape. It’s intact, it’s in good shape. Ryan’s strength is better and better. In fact, it’s better than it was when he started doing hitting and that kind of stuff. We’re just waiting on the wound.”

But even when Howard comes back completely healed the question will be whether or not he will be at full strength. Athletes who typically get Achilles injuries take about a year to be completely 100 percent. Amaro said one of the “benefits” of waiting on his Achilles wound is that he is strengthening his calf.

“I’m sure it will affect him, how much it will affect we won’t know until he’s playing and we see how he’s doing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amaro said Utley is getting stronger rehabilitating his injured knees.

“He’s becoming more stable and he’s progressing,” Amaro said. “We’ll know more about him when he see on the West Coast. We’ll see him in San Francisco or Arizona (next week). When see him we’ll know a little bit more on how he’s progressing. He’s improved.”

Amaro said the real test for both players will be when they start playing on their minor league rehab assignments.

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