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Beltran's knee surgery a surprise to Mets

New York Mets' Carlos Beltran celebrates after hitting

New York Mets' Carlos Beltran celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Florida Marlins. The Mets announced Beltran has had surgery on his troublesome right knee and the New York Mets' center fielder will miss the start of the season. (September 28, 2008) Credit: AP

So much for the Mets' resolution to stay healthy in 2010. Carlos Beltran's status for Opening Day is in serious jeopardy after choosing on his own to undergo surgery Wednesday on his right knee, which troubled him throughout most of last season.

The Mets, who according to a person familiar with the situation were not consulted by Beltran before the procedure, released a statement just before 10 last night saying they do not expect Beltran to begin baseball activities for 12 weeks. That timeline potentially would mean that Beltran is beginning his spring training just as the Mets begin their season.

Beltran was out from June 21 to Sept. 8 last season because of his right knee, but both he and the Mets were encouraged by his returning without limitations for the final three weeks of the season. The last the Mets knew, Beltran was not experiencing any pain in his right knee.

The Mets' statement last night said Beltran's symptoms "returned to the point where pre-spring training conditioning became too painful." That led him to visit the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., resulting in yesterday's surgical procedure on his knee.

In explaining Beltran's decision to undergo surgery that very likely will remove him from the Opening Day lineup, the Mets curiously made a point of saying in their statement that the procedure was performed by "Beltran's personal physician Dr. Richard Steadman." It is possible that not consulting the Mets could create a rift between Beltran and the team.

General manager Omar Minaya was not available for comment last night, having flown to Arizona earlier in the day to take part in the GMs' portion of baseball's owners' meetings. But the Mets were planning to have a conference call with reporters at some point Thursday.

Last season the Mets were among the most injured teams in baseball, leading to heavy criticism of their medical staff. Beltran never publicly blamed the team's medical staff for how his knee injury was handled, but the centerfielder did make a point of seeking a second opinion in June with the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic. At the time Steadman - a knee specialist who invented the microfracture surgery - told him that surgery was not needed, only rest followed by a detailed rehab program.

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