clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

After microfracture surgery, Justin Turner expects to be 100% ready for opening day

New, comments
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said on Saturday that he has had no setbacks in recovery from his left knee surgery in October, and expects to be 100-percent ready for opening day.

Turner had the procedure on Oct. 22 in Los Angeles, with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache performing the surgery, which was to remove loose bodies from the knee but also included a microfracture procedure that had Turner a little uncomfortable at first.

"They told me there were some loose bodies floating around, but I didn't know why until we got the MRI results," Turner explained on Saturday. "They basically saw the chunk of cartilage broke off the plateau of my fibula, and those were the two bodies that were floating around. I basically had a hole in my cartilage.

"I knew nothing about microfracture other than Matt Kemp had a hard time coming back from it, but his was in a bad spot to have it. It was scary when I first heard it, but after talking with Dr. ElAttrache more, even though it looks scary and sounds scary it was actually the best-case scenario."

Kemp had microfracture surgery on his left ankle after the 2013 season, the same spot Turner's former Mets teammate Ike Davis was injured in 2011 but ultimately didn't require surgery.

Turner hosted his first annual charity golf tournament on Monday to benefit the LA Dream Center, though he did not play. Turner said he started running drills on the field on Thursday, and has had no setbacks during his rehabilitation from surgery.

After winning the starting third base job in mid-May, Turner fouled a ball off his left knee on June 8 and missed two games. What first was a bone bruise regressed during the season.

"With bone bruises, there is no remedy other than rest," Turner said. "In season we don't have the luxury to rest and not do anything, it's just a matter of managing it day to day."

Part of the management of Turner's knee was to give him regular rest throughout the season. He only started four days in a row three times in 2015 before late August, then during the stretch run Turner started five days in a row twice.

Keeping Turner fresh paid off to the extent that he hit .294/.370/.491 with a career-high 16 home runs and 60 RBI. He also hit cleanup or fifth in the batting order in the five-game National League Division Series against the Mets, going 10-for-19 with a Dodgers franchise record six doubles in the series.

Turner also played in a career-high 126 games in 2015, a number he would like to see increased.

"I'm hoping it's fixed now so we don't have to worry about it," Turner said. "I would love to go play 162 games. But it's not up to me. That's up to Dave [Roberts] and the training staff. I've talked to Dave about it and to our training staff how we're going to approach it. I think when we get to Arizona we'll all sit down and come up with a plan to make sure everything is ready to go by opening day."

But should Turner experience a setback in spring training, the Dodgers feel they have depth at the hot corner, with Kiké Hernandez, coming off (shoulder) surgery of his own, and Chase Utley.

"It's just an unknown. [Turner has] done everything in his power to do everything after surgery that he can control. All that has been done, and every checkpoint has been met," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Saturday. "That being said, we're not dealing with a lot of margin for error."