Chipper out of lineup with sore knee after long flight

PHOENIX – Long flights are a special pain for Chipper Jones, who was out of the Braves lineup again Thursday with swelling in his left knee following the flight from Atlanta to Phoenix.

The good news from the veteran third baseman: the swelling wasn’t nearly as serious as a week ago, when he had more than an ounce of fluid drained from the surgically repaired knee after a flight from Houston and missed the first two games of a six-game homestand.

“I don’t have to get it drained this time,” said Jones, who was optimistic about being back in the lineup Friday for the second game of a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was available to pinch-hit Thursday.

The knee tightened overnight and Jones walked gingerly across the clubhouse Thursday afternoon to a meeting with manager Fredi Gonzalez, who assured him it was always better for the veteran third baseman to take a day or two to get better physically. Juan Francisco was in the lineup Thursday after homering in each of the past two games.

Jones, who’ll be 40 on April 24, had a .300 average with two homers, seven RBIs and a .375 on-base percentage in six games before Thursday, including five starts at third base and a pinch-hit appearance – RBI double — in Wednesday’s 14-6 rout of the New York Mets. That was the Braves’ seventh win in eight games.

The future Hall of Famer announced during spring training that he would retire after this, his 19th season.

“We knew we were going to have to manage that, so I’ve got no problems with that,” Gonzalez said of Jones’ health issues, particularly the knees. “That’s why talked to him about it in the office and said just let me know, not try to play through stuff and then we lose you for 10 days. I said I’d rather get you for two on, take two off, and keep you the whole year than try to push you and then all of a sudden we lose you for 15 days.

“He goes, ‘You know the flights are what really takes it out of me.’ I guess the pressurized cabins or whatever get to him. I said, hey, we’ll work around that. I’d rather get him healthy and keep him fresh than try to push him.”

Jones had March 26 arthroscopic surgery for torn meniscus – his sixth knee surgery; three on each side — and began the season on the 15-day disabled list. He was back in the lineup sooner than expected, eschewing a minor-league rehab assignment and instead returning for the fifth game of the season at Houston.

He homered his second time up in that game to spark a 6-4 win that snapped Atlanta’s four-game season-opening losing streak and begin a five-game winning streak and offensive resurgence for the Braves.

When he woke Thursday at the team hotel, the knee was tight.

“My range of motion is not what it should be,” said Jones, who could at least take some comfort knowing the Braves have only a few more flights as long as the Atlanta-to-Phoenix haul, and they’ll have a day off after the flight home from Los Angeles next week.

“Regardless, I hope that it starts to go away,” Jones said of the post-flight discomfort. “It’ll get better as my knee continues to heal.”

44 comments Add your comment

Joe for 3

April 19th, 2012
9:18 pm

Maybe he can get a pressure release valve installed on that knee.

Go Braves!


April 19th, 2012
9:33 pm

Get him a bus like John Madden. He never flew anywhere.

Wes H

April 19th, 2012
9:36 pm

As long as Juan hits like he has been, it will be a fine platoon this year.


April 19th, 2012
9:37 pm

He should know what the knee will do. Unfortunately, he’s an expert.

hiway 61

April 19th, 2012
9:44 pm

richbraves do u have any minor league reports..


April 19th, 2012
9:46 pm

It would be interesting to see how many games Chipper missed if he didn’t get paid for sitting on the bench.

hiway 61

April 19th, 2012
9:48 pm

Go Freeman..2 run homer..great start.


April 19th, 2012
9:52 pm

Only one complaint. Why is this article in the past tense when referring to a game in the first inning?


April 19th, 2012
9:59 pm

The lineup was posted 2 hours before the game Tomahawk.


April 19th, 2012
10:24 pm

Unfortunately flying does cause swelling post surgery in the lower extremities for those that care about facts.

Younger Than That Now

April 19th, 2012
10:49 pm

“It would be interesting to see how many games Chipper missed if he didn’t get paid for sitting on the bench.” – RaleighDawg

IMO, the same number dude! If he can’t go, he can’t go… whether he’s getting paid or not. Do you really believe that at this point in Chipper’s HOF career that it’s a money issue?!? Dude’s a perfectionist, professional athlete who’s made more money than three generations can spend in his career, and at this point he’s doing it for the same reason that folks play church softball and golf… they love the game!

In the past, he’s given up and deferred money and re-structured his contract so the team could sign players that could bring a lot of help to the Braves. I’m just one guy, but I’m one guy who’s sick of hearing people insinuate that Chipper’s always been after the money, and that’s the only reason he’s playing. YES, he makes a lot of money… always has, but in the grand scheme of MLB and the market value for players of his ilk… IMO, he’s earned every dime. Come on, he’s a first ballot HOFer who will go down in history and have comparable numbers to the likes of Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray… two of the greatest switch hitters of all time.

Give the guy a break!


April 19th, 2012
10:56 pm

chipper leave now while you can still walk off the field somewhat gracefully and give your spot to someone who can walk, give it up!

We Live In the Now

April 19th, 2012
11:07 pm

…In the past, he’s given up and deferred money and re-structured his contract so the team could sign players that could bring a lot of help to the Braves….

Things have evened out now. Any brownie points he got in the past have been used up the past few years when his salary has not matched his production and has kept a stranglehold on the payroll so we can’t sign players now.


April 19th, 2012
11:09 pm

If Chipper does retire after this year it shows how much he values his career as a Brave, bc so far this year shows he could def eke out a 3 year contract in the AL as a DH


April 20th, 2012
12:02 am

LOL @RaleighDawg… Im sure CJ is playing this yeah for the cash, do you know anything about Chipper Jones? Dude drives a Ford truck To the ball park everyday and has since I can remember, most of the time the same one… He’s made 150+ mil $$$ over the course of his career and drives a ford truck…. Money is really what drives him to play the game smh lol -_-


April 20th, 2012
12:36 am

Chipper was THE MAN – is THE MAN – and will always be THE MAN – the Braves have been fortunate to have this fine dude aboard all these years!


April 20th, 2012
2:09 am

RaleighDawg you ever play the game my guess you have no idea which end of the bat to hold
Chipper has been nothing but class more than we can say about your comment


April 20th, 2012
4:28 am

4 game losing streak to start the season…chipper comes back we start winning….if he plays two games and rest two…that will be fine..his presence on and off the field will be huge for the team…look after a big hit, homerun who the players go to first or greet in the dugout…..this team is having fun.


April 20th, 2012
6:37 am

Maybe Chipper can just play home games this year. Practice with his bow for the upcoming hunting season while the other guys are out of town.

He may drive a Ford truck, but he also owns like half of Texas and is scheduled to purchase another 14 million dollar farm at the end of the season.


April 20th, 2012
6:38 am

DOB, Tell Chip to wear some full length, granny looking TED hose and I bet his knee doesn’t swell. Especially if he wears them a few hours before and after the flight. Thanks for the great articles man!


April 20th, 2012
7:43 am

At least he should drive, not fly, from Phoenix to LA…


April 20th, 2012
7:46 am

RaleighDog, very unfair comment. Chipper has played when most players would not have. His presence in the line up, in my opinion, gives the team a mental boost. You don’t know what you are talking about.


April 20th, 2012
8:03 am

The Chipper bashers on here really make me laugh. I have lived here my whole life and have watched or listened to the Braves since they arrived in Atlanta. Both of my sons wore #10 throughout their youth ball days. Chipper is the best overall player to have worn the Braves logo. Thanks Chipper!


April 20th, 2012
8:12 am

I agree with others’ assessments of Chipper – he’s played through a lot of pain, took less money than he could’ve elsewhere, and is a huge influence even when just in the dugout.

Those who say he’s not worth the contract he’s got now: keep in mind that extension was signed right after he won a batting title – you can’t fault Wren for that decision.

What we’ve been witnessing the last couple of off-seasons is really hurting baseball – NL players signing rediculously loooooong contracts with AL clubs who know they won’t be able to be a position player the last 2-3 yrs of the deal. They’ll just move to DH. Chipper never did that – could have, but didn’t.

I’m old fashioned, and much prefer NL ball, and until they equalize the rules between the 2 leagues, you’re gonna see the veteran superstars gravitate to the AL (witness Pujols, Fielder…).

Homer the Brave

April 20th, 2012
8:14 am

If air flights are going to make Chipper’s knee swell up then maybe he should stay in Atlanta and not travel with the team. He can play 3B during home games and Juan Fransisco can play 3B on road games.

PCOLA Braves Fan

April 20th, 2012
9:07 am

Hey, I’m willing to offer my fantastic driving skills to drive Chipper to the away games. The Braves only have to buy me a 300k motorhome and buy the gas. Sounds like a deal to me..:-). All kidding aside, Chipper has earned every penny of his contract. I’m really going to be sorry to see him go. Just look in the dugout during all these past winning games and you see Chipper having a great time, kidding around with all his teammates, which makes for a great atmosphere. His on field and off field presence is invaluable. GO BRAVES!!!

The Docta

April 20th, 2012
9:13 am

Did anyone ever checl Chipper for Gout? it is entirely possible that the swelling could be avoided by avoiding certain foods (red meat, cream cheese, ice cream, cheese dip, etc.) and eating natural anti-inflammatories (Pineapple is one). I could be wrong, but what if I’m right? I used to have mysterious swelling in a surgically repaired klnee, then they found out it wasn’t such a mystery. Here’s hoping it’s as easy as that.

Big Earl

April 20th, 2012
9:25 am

I know exactly what Chipper is going through. The same dadgum thing happens to my knees when I fly. Barometric weather changes tightens up knees too. Stinks!


April 20th, 2012
9:26 am

It all comes down to he tried to come back to early……hate to say “I told ya so!” but………

Big Earl

April 20th, 2012
9:26 am

@The Docta … I’ll try the pineapple thing. Hope it works.

urban redneck

April 20th, 2012
9:34 am

i’m liking the juan francisco signing a lot better now


April 20th, 2012
10:33 am

Chipper remains important to this team, even with limited playing time. He is well paid, but considering Wren’s expensive disasters like McLouth, Kawakami, and Lowe, Chipper is a bargain. Then there was the Wren gift of Andrus, Feliz, Saltamacchia, and Harrison that got nothing in return.


April 20th, 2012
10:51 am

I like Fransisco too, so far. Can’t make a season judgement in the first few weeks. Dude can rake. As long as his defense is above decent from here on out, I’ll be very happy with it. Especially since we gave up someone who wouldn’t really be a factor for us.


April 20th, 2012
11:08 am

I can’t believe the idiot comments like RaleighDawg make, like this is about money to Chipper!!!?? Great reply “Younger Than That Now”!


April 20th, 2012
11:15 am

Good comments also by David and others supporting Chipper. Chipper is an automatic HOF player, and true Brave’s fans understand how lucky we all have been to watch him play for our hometown team for so long. Does anyone realize how lucky we have been the last 15 years? Only a few teams can say that they have had 4 automatic HOF players (Chipper, Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz) on their squad at one time, and get to see what such a squad can do over a long period of time. I for one, have been absolutely honored to watch these great players during my youth and early adult years. Now that I am 34 years old, I realize that the players I have loved and watched since I was a kid, are on their home stretch of their careers. It makes me so appreciate what I have witnessed, and one day I will be able to tell my kids, that I saw the great Chipper, and Maddux and etc., play live and in person…These are memories that I will take to my grave with me. True baseball fans and true Brave’s fans know of what I speak. We are so lucky.


April 20th, 2012
11:18 am

Streaking at 8-1 and folks cant find anything positive to say. Will yalls cup ever be even HALF FULL?

Dirty Dawg

April 20th, 2012
11:22 am

As one that has to wear them, it seems to me hat Chipper could use some compression hose for when he flies, particularly those longer flights. I’d say ‘thigh-highs’ that would push the blood and other fluids past his knee(s). Of course I’m no doctor, but then I haven’t been for all these years when I was telling them that Hanson needed to change his delivery to relieve the stress ans strain on his shoulder with that ‘buggy-whip’ motion of his.


April 20th, 2012
11:31 am


April 19th, 2012
9:46 pm
It would be interesting to see how many games Chipper missed if he didn’t get paid for sitting on the bench.

Take a hike……and don’t come back. Ever


April 20th, 2012
12:16 pm

Man I used to be luke warm on Chipper, but gotta hand it to the old man, he is living the dream. 40 and still acting and playing like a kid.
Don’t get much better than that in life. We just wish we had the ability to do what he has done. AT 40 most of us are grinding out a living working our butts off, not high five’n our co-workers.
Think I will come back as a baseball player, but knowing my luck I would be the pitchers rosin bag.
More power to you Chip!


April 20th, 2012
12:54 pm

RaleighDawg-just go away.


April 20th, 2012
12:58 pm

Gene – just a point of clarification on the Texeira deal with the Rangers: that wasn’t Wren, that was Scheurholz’s debacle. His last stab at trying to find one more chance for Bobby to win a WS.

Even when we heard Tex was coming in, everyone knew we gave up way too much for someone we knew would be a one year rental player. JS mortgaged the near future with that deal – Tex played really well, but wasn’t enough to make the difference. I believe that was a valuable lesson Wren learned up close – also why he sat tight in the off-season and didn’t make any trades just to make a trade. And oh yeah, there wasn’t ANYONE even remotely close to Tex’s talent level available for that big OF bat.

Lots of talented your players – just need some time to develop. Nicely handled by Wren, despite the howling from you negative bloggers.

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