By Tom Keppeler, Knee1 Staff
Mike Piazza, the All-Star catcher for the New York Mets, caught three innings for a minor league team Sunday and reported no problems with his knees. Piazza, 32, was sidelined for 10 days after team physicians diagnosed him with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Piazza injured himself March 6 during a base-running drill, giving doctors an early indication that he had sprained the knee. However, MRI tests later confirmed that he had a bone bruise, a condition which kept him from folding into a catcher's squat for 7 to 10 days. During his respite, Piazza worked on hitting, the other side of the top-five catcher's repertoire.
Catching is the hardest position on the knees, and Piazza has had his fair share of wear and tear on his knee. In 1999, Piazza was put on the disabled list for a sprained right knee, and many have voiced concerns over how long his knees will hold up. For example, former Mets catcher Gary Carter, the record-holder for most games caught in the National League, has urged him to give up the padded glove for a standing-up career. Although he has admitted a few creaks in the morning, Piazza says he will continue to play. "It's been this albatross around my neck my whole career, ever since I first started," Piazza told the Associated Press. "I am kind of genuinely amused by it."
A bone bruise is exactly what it sounds like: excessive force on the bone causes slight damage. Although it takes a week or more to heal, it is far less severe than what Piazza's doctors originally feared: a sprain. In a sprain, the ligaments in the knee are either partially or completely torn, diminishing the amount of stability and comfort in the joint.
To read more about sprains, click here.
Photo courtesy of CNN/SI.com.