In his career, Chipper Jones has 1,518 RBIs. He has also undergone (loose estimate) 1,518 MRIs.
He had another Sunday, and it revealed a small meniscus tear in his right knee. That’s not to be confused with his left knee, which was surgically rebuilt last August. (The same left knee was likewise surgically rebuilt in 1994.)
Once again, we at the ol’ AJC got to trot out the most familiar words in the local sporting vernacular: “Chipper’s hurt.” And we Braves-watchers fell into our usual Chipper’s-Hurt calculations: Out for how long? Who plays third? Who bats third? What does this do to the Braves?
On the scale of Chipper Injuries, a meniscus tear isn’t up there with a torn ACL or even a tweaked oblique. (He’s had a slew of those.) If it responds to an injection, he said Sunday, he’ll be back fairly soon. If not, he’ll have arthroscopic surgery and maybe miss two weeks.
He knows because he the same thing once before — in 1996. And that, too, is part of being Chipper Jones: Whatever the ailment, there’s a chance he has had it before.
He’s 39, and there will soon come a day when he stops playing baseball and can wave goodbye to the MRI machine. When you think about it, it’s remarkable that, given all the infirmities, he has gone on as long as he has at such a high level.
He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer as is, which says much for the man. And our response to any “Chipper’s Hurt” bulletin isn’t just a hysterical thing. He’s almost 40, and he’s still the everyday Brave who matters most.
By Mark Bradley