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Matheny returns to Cards after back surgery

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JUPITER, FLA. (AP) - Cardinals manager Mike Matheny returned to the club Thursday after undergoing back surgery Monday in St. Louis.

Matheny was best with severe pain for several days, stemming from a ruptured disc in his back that caused particles to come into contact with a nerve. Surgeons found and removed four particles during a 90-minute procedure, known as a microdiscectomy.

"It was something, as much as I was going to try to put it off, it would not have gotten better on its own," Matheny said. "It had to be taken care of.

"I was impressed with how much better I felt right away. I still have a long way to go but definitely better."

Matheny hoped an epidural shot would relieve the pain and help with the inflammation but the effects of that soon wore off and he had no choice but to have the procedure back in St. Louis.

The second-year Cardinals manager returned home Sunday night, missing games on Monday and Tuesday before returning Wednesday evening.

Matheny doesn't expect to miss any additional time but said he was told not to lift anything heavier than five pounds for the next eight weeks. It's unclear whether he'll be able to throw batting practice in the near future.

"It doesn't take very much to make you appreciate the health that you have," Matheny said. "Things like your back that you use all the time, you do take it for granted. It's good to feel better."

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