Indians designated hitter Nick Swisher was scheduled for surgery on both knees late Wednesday and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Swisher, who is in the second year of a four-year, $56 million contract with the Indians, has been on the 15-day disabled list with knee soreness since Aug. 10 and also served an earlier DL stint with similar discomfort from May 27 through June 11.
Swisher's knee pain not only persisted, but also showed signs of worsening as he began visibly limping around the clubhouse following games as the season progressed.
Last week in Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Rick Parker examined him. Swisher, 33, then sought a second opinion Tuesday with Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Neil ElAttrache in LA., who concurred with Parker that surgical intervention would be the most appropriate course of action.
A news release issued by the Indians on Wednesday afternoon stated "Dr. ElAttrache confirmed that Nick is dealing with chronic medial knee discomfort in both knees as a result of medial meniscus wear and tear."
Thus, arthroscopic surgery -- also known as an arthroscopic debridement -- of Swisher's knees was scheduled.
"It's essentially just going in there and taking care of the part of the meniscus that is injured, cleaning up any tears it has," Indians head athletic trainer James Quinlan said by telephone from LA, having accompanied Swisher for the surgery.
The meniscus, explained Quinlan, is a tissue bonded between two bones in the knee that provides shock absorption in the joint. He said Swisher started showing symptoms in late May and early June.
"He tried to play through the symptoms until he got some time off in June," Quinlan said. "He battled through the symptoms on and off through the bulk of the season. There was no sudden event that caused it, just regular wear and tear."
Swisher's rehab is expected to take the standard eight to 10 weeks and will begin Friday. Quinlan said Swisher, an 11-year major league veteran, opted to have both knees surgically repaired at the same time in an effort to be fully recovered in time for spring training.
Indians manager Terry Francona said he expects a motivated Swisher when he returns for next season.
"I think he'll be real motivated. Regardless of how much money you made, guys want to be good players," he said. "There's a lot of pride. But he's going to have his work cut out for him this winter. Hopefully, 1/8he's3/8 getting a head start on it, which I think is good. So, maybe the majority of his winter will kind of be normal because you get the rehab out of the way over this next six weeks and 1/8he3/8 can have a pretty decent winter."
Swisher hit .208 with 20 doubles, eight home runs and 42 RBI in 97 games this season. Last year he played through a left shoulder injury, batting .246 with 22 home runs and 63 RBI, helping lead the Indians to the American League Wild-Card Game.
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