Hip surgeon hopeful Alex Rodriguez can return after All-Star Game

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees bats Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees bats against the Toronto Blue Jays. (July 17, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Alex Rodriguez's doctor said last night that he is "hoping" A-Rod will be able to return to the Yankees after the All-Star break following left hip surgery that has been scheduled for next Wednesday. The date was announced last night.

Dr. Bryan Kelly, the co-director of the Center for Hip Pain and Preservation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and the lead surgeon for Rodriguez, said the typical return-to-play time after surgery of this nature is six months.

The All-Star break begins July 15.

"Optimistically speaking, what we're hoping for is him to be able to return after the All-Star break," Kelly said in a conference call. "It'd be great if he returns faster. It's possible that it would take longer."

Rodriguez, 37, needs a two-hour surgery to repair a torn labrum, a bony impingement in the hip and cartilage damage, Kelly said. It is the unknown extent of the cartilage damage that is the wild card in the surgery, according to Kelly, and ultimately will determine how quickly A-Rod makes it back.

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"The imaging studies show that he has some cartilage wear that makes me think we will be able to get him back to his pre-injury level of play," Kelly said. "It is not so extensive that it will ultimately impact his ability to play.

"But, unfortunately, our imaging doesn't give us all the information. That is something we're going to know at the time of surgery or after the time of surgery during that investigative portion of the procedure."

A-Rod had surgery on his right hip in 2009 and returned in two months to lead the Yankees to the World Series title with a monster postseason. Kelly said the right hip will be a factor in Rodriguez's rehabilitation after this surgery.

"We have to really manage a lot of issues," Kelly said. "One of the biggest issues we have to manage is his right hip. I am concerned about his right hip and how it will respond to improved function across the left hip. The other thing that we have to look at is the effect of age."

Kelly said flatly that A-Rod's injury is not connected to his admitted past use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"This is not related to steroid use," he said.

A-Rod was so ineffective in the 2012 postseason that he was pinch-hit for and eventually benched by Joe Girardi. Rodriguez went 3-for-25 (.120) in the playoffs and was 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against righthanded pitchers.

After the season, the Yankees revealed that A-Rod had felt pain in his right hip during the playoffs. But they later learned the problem was with his left hip. His need for surgery was announced Dec. 3 with a date to be announced after four to six weeks of "pre-habilitation."

At the time, the Yankees said Rodriguez could miss the first half of the 2013 season.

Rodriguez has five years left on his contract for $114 million. The Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis to a free-agent contract to play third base until Rodriguez is ready to return.

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