The Hip It Is: Utley Could Miss Season Opener

Phillies star to have hip surgery next week

Throughout much of the second half of the Phillies 2008 championship season rumors were floating about Chase Utley having a hip injury -- it turns out those rumors are true and he might miss part of next season.

After months of denying its severity, Utley will have right hip surgery next week.

He is expected to have an arthroscopic evaluation and be treated for any labral or bony injury the surgeons may find. 

The scariest part for Phils fans wanting to see the Phils defend their crown is that Utley likely will miss some of spring training and possibly even some regular season games. The second baseman won't be able to do any baseball activities for at least three to four months and the total recovery time may require up to six months, according to a Phillies release. 

On the positive side, three months puts Utley on track to be ready to return to playing ball by late February. He would maybe miss the very start of spring training but would be able to play at some point before the season begins.

The worst case scenario has the 29-year-old Utley out until May. This means the Phillies may have to go without the All-Star slugger for more than a month to start 2009.

Utley was on a tear to start 2008 batting .362 with 13 homers and 26 RBI in 130 at-bats. His .441 on-base percentage and .769 slugging percentage made him an early favorite to win the National League MVP.

Utley's numbers dropped drastically after May 5 when it appeared the slugger was not himself at the plate.

Rumors began that Utley's hip was to blame.

Then assistant General Manager Ruben Amaro said that Utley was playing with "mild soreness" and that surgery in the off-season was "false."

"He's having some trouble with his right hip," Former GM Pat Gillick said in late July.

 Despite playing with hips problems Utley never relented playing in all but two regular season games and all 14 Phillies playoff games.

And guess what, the Phillies are World Champions in part because Utley played hurt.

 Surgery for Pete Happy

Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz will also need surgery, according to the team.

Feliz will have low back surgery performed in Los Angeles on November 20.

The 33 year old was on the disabled list for 26 days during the 2008 season because of his balky back. He continued to have back problems at the end of the season leading to surgery being needed.

Feliz will have to complete an eight-to-12 week rehabilitation program that should allow him to be ready for spring training.

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