- The Washington Times - Monday, March 9, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. | Alex Rodriguez will have arthroscopic hip surgery Monday and is expected to miss six to nine weeks. The Yankees slugger will need further surgery after the season.

The diagnosis by Dr. Marc Philippon on Sunday was yet another jolt to Rodriguez during a tumultuous month in which the three-time AL MVP admitted using steroids from 2001 to 2003 while with Texas.

Philippon spoke from Vail, Colo., on a conference call with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Philippon, a noted hip specialist with the Steadman Hawkins Clinic, will perform the procedure. Also on the call was team physician Chris Ahmad.

Philippon is confident in the “85 to 90 percent range” that Rodriguez will be able to play through the entire regular season.

“I firmly believe this approach will be successful and allow Alex to return,” Philippon said. “We’ve had very good success with this approach. Short term, we feel the risk is very limited that he will retear his labrum during that six-, seven-month period.”

The decision eliminates the option of Rodriguez treating the injury with rest and rehab and playing through the season without surgery. This operation will not completely correct the hip. More aggressive surgery would have sidelined Rodriguez three to four months.

“The surgery that will just repair the labrum tear right now would shorten his rehab,” Cashman said. “Then following the conclusion of the season, going in and repair the remaining aspects that need to be repaired.”

Rodriguez has a torn labrum and a cyst in his right hip. The cyst was drained Wednesday, and he had additional tests Friday to test the hip’s strength and flexibility.

His hip had been fine until he experienced stiffness during spring training this year. The injury forced the 12-time All-Star to skip the World Baseball Classic, where he was to play for the Dominican Republic.

Philippon attributed the labrum tear to the rotational stress that Rodriguez - “a very strong hitter, strong batter” - places on his hip.

“Because of all the test findings, analysis, the function of Alex, I feel it’s in his best interest to have his labrum repaired, remove part of his impingement and therefore stabilize his labrum,” he said. “The goal here is to allow Alex to rehab rapidly in a safe manner.”

Rodriguez will stay in Colorado for the foreseeable future.

“We’ll keep Alex with us certainly for the first few weeks,” said Philippon, who has treated several sports stars, including golfer Greg Norman and figure skater Tara Lipinski. “The main reason being we’re going to put him on the fast track so we will be very aggressive on his rehab. We’ll check on Alex twice a day.”

Rodriguez could swing a bat as a range of motion drill as soon as seven days after surgery.

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