Corey Hart has a reputation as a fast healer, but he plans to put that to an even bigger test this spring.
Hart, who had surgery on his right knee on Jan. 25, hopes to be back in action as the Milwaukee Brewers' first baseman by the end of April. The original prognosis was that Hart would not return until mid- to late May.
"It's going ahead of schedule," said Hart, who is on crutches and sporting a big brace on his knee. "Everything has come faster than they thought it would come. They tell me I am (ahead of schedule). All my swelling is gone already."
Hart will know a lot more on March 8. That day will mark six weeks since his surgery, and he's scheduled to have an MRI to monitor his progress. If the surgical site has healed, he'll be able to ramp up his rehab work.
"I'll have a month to get ready before the end of camp to go out on (minor league) rehab," he said. "I think I can do it.
"It's not necessarily that I'm a fast healer. I'm a hard worker. I do everything and ask for extra stuff. I'm going to give myself a chance to come back as fast as I can. If they say I can do something five times at home, I'm going to do it five times at home."
Hart had minor surgery on the knee early in camp last spring but still opened the season on the active roster. He plans to beat the odds this time around, too, but admitted a second opinion he got on the knee before surgery from specialist Richard Steadman in Colorado scared him.
"He wanted to do microfracture surgery," Hart said. "He said I'd be out for the year."I said, 'That's not going to happen.'"