Daniel Murphy hobbled through the rear double doors of the clubhouse, his armpits resting awkwardly on metal crutches. He grimaced as he clumsily made his way toward the pack of reporters and the chair strategically positioned in front of them.
After a few moments, he lowered his body onto the seat and cursed under his breath as he slowly elevated his left leg and propped it on a second chair brought over by a public relations staffer.
Latest Mets stories
Just a few days ago, he had been focused on shoring up his defense at second base during the offseason. Now Murphy is looking forward to rehabbing his MCL injury.
Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list along with Jose Reyes (left hamstring strain) Monday, said he is most frustrated about not being able to play with his teammates.
"We've played hard for each other," said Murphy, who suffered a Grade 2 "isolated MCL tear" when Atlanta's Jose Constanza slid hard into his left knee on a stolen base in the seventh inning Sunday. "It's something that's tough to explain, but there's a camaraderie in this clubhouse and I feel like I had to go to battle with every one of those guys out there and we've been doing it for six months now . . . and I am not allowed to be a part of that anymore."
But even though he'll miss a lengthy portion of a season for the second straight year, he said he knows he was lucky this time.
"I'm frustrated I have to miss the end of the year, but considering, it's probably the best news I could have gotten," said Murphy, whose 2010 season was cut short when he injured his right knee while playing second base for Triple-A Buffalo on June 2.
"It's an unfortunate situation," said Murphy, who didn't fault Constanza. "I don't think there's anything else I could have done. I felt like I protected myself. Wrong place, wrong time."
His manager, however, disagreed.
"As great athletes as they are, you just can't go out there and play some position you're unfamiliar with," Terry Collins said. "The position his leg was in on that play -- I've played a lot of second base. It never was in that position.
"So he's got to understand where he needs to be, where his feet need to be, and it all comes with the more reps he gets out there. And unfortunately, due to what's happened this year, Dan never got them. I think had he stayed at second base throughout the summer . . . been the second baseman here, I doubt you would have seen that yesterday."
Murphy's future, which now entails wearing braces on both knees, remains unclear. But Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson see one for him in Flushing.
"Any time you're fourth or fifth in the league in hitting, you need to try to find a place for that player," Alderson said of Murphy, who had the second-highest batting average (.360) in the majors since May 21 at the time of the injury. "I think he got to that level and that's how we view it."
Collins and Alderson said they'll consider putting Murphy in the outfield but won't commit to a definite plan.
"That's the great value in a player like Murphy," Alderson said. "He does have versatility and he hasn't been given the opportunity to master any of those positions . . . I'd be surprised if we went into spring training saying 'we're going to do this exclusively,' but it'll depend on what happens in the offseason and what our specific needs are."