Two cortisone shots and a night later, third baseman Chipper Jones said the torn meniscus in his right knee -- discovered in an MRI on Sunday -- is feeling better. And if he has the same improvement in the next 24 hours, he wants to play on Tuesday.
That might be stretching it. Tuesday is a day game, and the Braves are facing Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. The knee has affected Jones hitting right-handed since some point in San Francisco, back in late April.
Sunday, though, Jones couldn't do anything on it. He had no range of motion, couldn't run and, for the first time, felt pain when he rotated on the knee hitting left-handed. That's what prompted the game-time scratch and the MRI.
Jones took two cortisone shots, both in the same place on the inside of his knee. He estimates that the tear, which he could see on the MRI, is slightly less than half an inch -- small enough, team physician Dr. Joe Chandler said, that it might heal on its own.
But there's no telling how long that might take.
Jones will give the pain three days, at most, to go away before undergoing any arthroscopic procedure. He is "encouraged" by the improvement so far but is still skeptical because he's had a couple of these -- the most recent in 1996 -- and they have always been cleaned out immediately.
For now, he is planning to play.
"I guess we're going to play it by ear from here on out," he said. "If I have any more pain or it keeps me out of any more ballgames, I guess we'll clean it out.
"I don't know if this is something that will allow me to play for two or three weeks and then we'll have to go in and have the surgery anyway or what. But obviously we made the decision to get the injections yesterday.
"... I've got a tear in my meniscus. That's a fact. And I have been playing with it. But yesterday there was just no way. I would have been no good to us. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't run, I couldn't move. I wouldn't have had any range in the field. It hurt (to) hit left-handed in the cage. Any kind of rotation on it hurt. And that was the first time that's it's gotten to the point where I couldn't go out there and play.
"But the shot, through the first 24 hours, is encouraging."
Infielder-outfielder Martin Prado, who has just been named National League Player of the Week for May 9-15, started at third in Jones' place. Prado, who hit .462 (12 for 26) to win the award, led off with a single but also grounded into three double plays in the Braves' 3-2 win over the Astros.
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