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Ryan Howard’s Rehab Progressing: Injury Update
It has been some time since the Philadelphia Phillies saw their 2011 season end in the NLDS. The Phillies lost that series in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals. In the final play of that game, Phillies slugger Ryan Howard(notes) was seen limping toward first base before he collapsed on the field. It was a sad last image for Phillies fans. It was soon revealed that Howard had ruptured his Achilles tendon and would need surgery. Now that December has arrived and the injury is nearly two months old, there is some positive news to report regarding Howard's rehab. The first baseman is no longer using crutches.
Of course, the rehab process for Howard still has a long way to go. He is still wearing a walking boot and he is still limping. But according to Howard, the rehab process has been progressing. That is a great sign for Phillies fans. As long as Howard is feeling good, there is no reason to think he isn't on track for a return. The time frame for Howard is still pretty vague. The standard line of thought has him missing about six months of action. That would bring him back in April or May. All things considered, that isn't a whole lot of time to miss considering the injury. There is also the possibility that Howard could return sooner.
The status of Howard is important to the Phillies. He is at the beginning of a five year deal worth $125 million. Based on that investment, a complete recovery is essential for Howard. Not only that, but he still represents the biggest offensive threat on the team. Howard strikes out a lot and he was terrible against the Cardinals. But the Phillies and their fans know that this is still a guy that can produce runs as well as any player in the league. The Phillies simply can't afford to miss him for an extended period of time.
At this point, news that Howard is progressing and feeling good is about as good as it can get. It will be a while before there is any clear target of his return. Ideally he will continue to improve and be on schedule to join the team in spring training. But everyone will just need to wait and see if that goal can become a reality.
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