Ryan Howard Q&A
Ryan Howard is two weeks and two days removed from having his surgically repaired left foot cut back open.
On Feb. 27, Howard had an infection removed from the site of his left Achilles' surgery. The Achilles' was not compromised; but Howard's rehab was since he has not taken place in baseball activities since Feb 25.
Until today, at least.
Howard checked back into Camp Clearwater this morning and played catch. He's also doing some light work on a stationary bike.
But when will the boot he's wearing come off? Is the infection gone? Is it still even remotely possible that he could be back on the field in May, the optimistic timeline general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. threw out to the media before camp began?
Howard answers those questions and more:
Q: You're back working out?
Howard: Right now I just got cleared to do a little bit of modified stuff, so basically riding a bike, doing a little leg motion-type stuff. Trying to do what I can so when I’m actually out of the boot I can hit the ground running.
Q: Upsetting to go through this?
Howard: No, man. I’ve been good. I’ve just tried to stay positive through the entire thing. These kinds of things happen. The only thing you can do is stay positive. If you start to get down on yourself it’s not going to help the situation either way. I’m just looking at it as a positive, trying to keep it on the up and up.
Q: Infection out?
Howard: I would hope so. I mean, they operated on it. I would hope that it’s out of there. Now just continue to take those precautions and just wait for everything to heal up.
Q: How much longer in the boot?
Howard: I don’t know. I mean, guess right now we’re just waiting for the skin to heal up. I mean, that’s really what the purpose of the boot is. I think people see me in the boot they think it’s a lot worse than what it really is. Right now we’re just trying to protect the skin and protect the wound and let it heal up. Once it heals up then I’ll be out of the boot.
Q: Team said hoped to see you back in May before camp began. May out of the question now?
Howard: I don’t know. It all depends on how the skin heals and then as far as the progression of trying to pick back up where I was. I’m going to try to stay optimistic and see what happens, but like I’ve said before there’s really no time limit on it. Once it’s 100 percent we’ll go from there.
Q: How big is the wound?
Howard: Well, the wound was probably the size of my fingertip. But now it’s gone down substantially.
Q: Was that the first wound or what was left after they operated?
Howard: I mean, they left my foot and my ankle.
Q: You went to Baltimore with an open wound, right?
Utley: They took out the sutures on the wound. It was kind of on each side of my Achilles. My Achilles is fine. My Achilles wasn’t touched at all. It was just basically the wound. There was a couple little holes or whatnot and now they’re pretty much filled in. Now we’re just waiting for that skin and all that stuff.
Q: They had to restitch it, right?
Howard: There are a few stitches in there. It looks a lot better than what it was before. Now it's a matter of letting it heal.
Q: Do you have to start from ground zero on the rehab?
Howard: I doubt it. I really doubt it. From where I had to start before, I had a bum Achilles. We had to strengthen that up. But my Achilles each day, even though I'm not doing some of the stuff I was doing before, is still getting stronger just through rest. My goal and hope is once I get out of the boot we can hit the ground running and pick up where we left off.
Q: You were out three weeks - so does that mean your return is set back by three weeks?
Howard: No, we're hoping not. I think that the thing was, my Achilles was weak. We did some things to make my Achilles stronger. Each day of rest, it continues to heal and get stronger. We'll try to do what we can to put ourselves in the best position so once this boot comes off we can hit the ground running.
Q: You've been back in town for two weeks, right?
Howard: I've been down here the whole time. I guess it was like a 'Where's Waldo?' type deal. People didn't know if I was in Philly. People didn't know if I was here. I was everywhere. Stealth.
Q: What have you been doing?
Howard: I've been trying to keep up with the guys as much as I can; watching the games on TV and whatnot.
Q: Good to get get a glove back on?
Howard: "It was cool. I felt like Cole Hamels. It was awkward throwing downhill. Man, this is what Cole feels like when he's on the bump. It felt good to be able to do some baseball stuff and get up on the bike and get active again. I missed you guys."
Q: You back for good in camp?
Howard: I'll be out here. You'll be seeing more of me. I'll be out here doing more of what I can. We'll be hitting the bike and trying to do the exercises we can. Obviously we're limited with the boot. We'll be out here every day.
Q: You played catch, what's it like to get back out there?
Howard: It's exhilarating. I even got to field a ball from batting practice that came at me. I still got it.
Here is some video footage from Howard's Q&A session with the scribes.