The knee that A.J. Ellis injured planting while rounding third base Saturday? Turns out it had been bothering him for some time.
“My left knee has been barking since the beginning of spring training,” Ellis said. “We thought it was something we could manage and had been doing a pretty good job of it. But that one play, that one trauma kinda tilted it to the point where something major happened.”
Ellis had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to clean up cartilage in his left knee. He’s expected to be out four to six weeks. It is the second arthroscopic surgery he has had on the knee in 18 months.
Ellis returned in uniform to the Dodgers on Wednesday, his 33rd birthday, and was walking without crutches and with only the hint of a limp.
“[The knee] hadn’t been barking any louder, it was just consistent,” he said. “It was never really getting better, but it wasn’t getting worse. I think there was some damage being done in there and that one play put me over the edge.
“I’m looking at it like it could be a blessing in disguise for me. I can get my legs under me to help me. I never felt like I had my legs the entire spring.”
Ellis said he didn’t feel the pain when getting into the catcher’s position.
“That’s the funny thing, it never hurt to squat,” he said. “It was only running, agility-type things, jumping, things I’m usually not good at anyway. But when I did try to do them, I’d feel pain.”
Ellis arrived at spring-training camp 15 pounds lighter, hoping the loss would alleviate some pressure on the knee.
“That didn’t really happen, so I’m glad now I can get back to eating whatever I want,” he said, smiling.
Ellis said it was easier to make a quick decision on surgery since it was April.
“I have to plan not through just September, but all of October too,” he said. “It’s not a guarantee. We have a quiet confidence in our clubhouse that we have unfinished business.”
Ellis is now on the disabled list with his close friend, Clayton Kershaw.
“We’re going to do a 'Between the Palms, DL Edition,’ ” he said.
Ellis said he typically weight loads on his left side when he catches and now may have to consider a more balanced defensive position.
“Maybe my stance has to even out 50-50,” he said. “But the way I like to catch, the way I’ve caught my whole life, is to have my weight loaded over there.”