Phillips injury may be career-threatening

Kenny Phillips’ season is over. And it may be worse than that.

The Giants today said he’s been diagnosed with patellofemoral arthritis in his left knee. Not only is that enough to put him on injured reserve. It is, according to a noted orthopedist (who it should be noted has not examined Phillips or his MRI results), a career-threatening condition.

“I would have rather them said he tore his ACL and his MCL,” said Dr. Craig Levitz. “That’s a much better injury to have. We can fix that. If he tore his meniscus, we can fix that. Even if he tore his knee ligaments, we can fix those. It’s just a matter of how good he rehabs whether he gets back.

“Arthritis, we cant fix that,” he said.

Levitz said that Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui is suffering from the same situation. In that case they drain his knee regularly and inject him with cortisone shots every three months or so. With Phillips, that wouldn’t be an option. And Levitz said he doesn’t think surgery will help either.

“You can’t stop it from progressing, you just have to hope it doesn’t progress,” he said. “Arthritis only goes in one direction. It only gets worse, it never gets better.”

By strengthening the quadriceps and other muscles around the knee Phillips can help to support the joint and reduce the pain. But the arthritis will never go away without a knee replacement.

“The reason why they’re probably weighing their options is not because they don’t know what to do,” Levitz said. “It’s because there are no good options and they are trying to pick the best option for him with no good option. There’s no option that will give him an extremely high chance of feeling a lot better.”

Levitz said that because Phillips could run on the knee – he had two interceptions on Sunday and said on Wednesday that he suffered no further damage to the joint – it means that the Giants are concerned about his future beyond even this season.

The Giants don't consider it career-threatening. “It’s serious stuff,” a source said, adding optimistically that “success rates on procedures are much better now than a few years ago.”

Still, Kenny Phillips’ best game in the NFL might have been his last. “To me,” Levitz said, “that is a career threatening injury.”

UPDATE: Glauber is hearing the same thing from a different doc.

Tags: Kenny Phillips , patellofemoral arthritis

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