ATLANTA - Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones spoke at a press conference Friday afternoon and indicated he intends on giving it another go in 2011 in the wake of tearing the ACL in his left knee for a second time.
Jones talked Spring Training not reflectively on the same day he was officially placed on the disabled list and had season-ending surgery scheduled for Saturday. It’s expected the rehab process will take six months, putting Jones in line to be ready for an 18th season in Atlanta. Braves orthopedist Dr. Marvin Royster will perform the surgery.
It was learned Thursday that Jones would miss the remainder of the season after an MRI exam confirmed his and the team’s worst fears. Jones was hurt in Tuesday’s game against Houston while making a spectacular defensive play along the third-base line on a chopper hit by Hunter Pence. Jones’ momentum carried him into foul territory where he threw across his body and planted his left leg awkwardly.
The 38-year-old veteran had already hinted at retiring after this season, as reports surfaced back in June that the six-time All-Star spoke with Braves management about when to make an announcement. However, that was before Atlanta showed the staying power to retain its place atop the NL East standings where they hold a two-game lead over Philadelphia entering the weekend.
“I certainly don’t want to go out like this even though it happened on probably the best play I’ve made all year at third base. The hardest part for me is the fact that this team is in first place and we have a chance to do something really special. The fact that I’m not going to be a part of it is what hurts,” Jones said Friday.
Jones, who also tore the same ACL in 1994, finished the campaign batting .265 with 10 homers and 46 runs batted in over 95 games. He has battled numerous injuries throughout his stellar career, which includes a .306 batting average, 436 home runs, 1,491 RBI, a 1999 NL MVP award and a batting title in 2008.
The Braves recalled third baseman Brandon Hicks from Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday to take Jones’ roster spot.