The Atlanta Braves veteran third baseman Chipper Jones has been playing 2011 as if he were 18 years younger. It was as if he had been rejuvenated after knee surgery at the end of last season. But, apparently he has been playing with knee pain for some time now.
In fact, Jones admitted that he has had a sharp pain in his surgically repaired left knee when he pushes off and cuts. He also admitted that he has been experiencing this sharp knee pain for about 10 days. He played the whole of Friday night’s game versus the Giants contributing a key two-run, fourth inning double. After the game, as he talked to reporters, it was obvious that he was in pain.
Jones has apparently been playing through this pain for some time now. The Braves started off hot but then rapidly fell into third place in the NL East and are currently 5 games out of 1st and just 1.5 games ahead of the last place Mets. Jones production has been key to several of the Braves wins. I am sure he knows that if he goes out for any period of time it could adversely affect the team in the wins/loss column. So, he continues to play.
He may not be in the game versus Tim Lincecum on Saturday though. The pain may have finally reached the point of too much to play through. Then, there comes the question of just what the issue is? Does he need to take some time off? Is it something more serious? The Braves would be wise to investigate now instead of just resting him and then putting him back in and having him get seriously injured.
So far for 2011, Jones is batting .247 with 20 hits and 14 RBIs. The Braves would definitely miss him in the lineup and on the field, but if he continues to have pain and it gets worse from over use, that could be an even more long term problem. Sometimes, playing through the pain is not a good idea. This is one of those times.