November 06, 2004
Berkman tears ACL

Not the most auspicious sign for the Astros' offseason: Lance Berkman tears his ACL playing flag football.

Known for his positive outlook, Berkman, a three-time All-Star, used humor to caution against panic. He also joked he is more frustrated because he wasn't playing "worth a dang" during the flag football game when he got hurt at Second Baptist Church on Oct. 28. Nonetheless, he might be out until mid-May.

"I haven't missed a game yet," said Berkman, who hit .316 with 30 home runs in 160 games this year, leading the club in average, games, home runs, walks, slugging percentage (.566), on-base percentage (.450) and total bases (308). "When I miss a game, then tell people to start mourning my loss."

Berkman expects to have the surgery Wednesday or Friday with Astros medical director Dr. David Lintner.

Recovery time is expected to take about five to six months, barring complications or setbacks.

"It's a significant injury, but it's not like, 'Hey, this guy will never come back,' " Berkman said. "Shoot, I may never miss a game. It happened at Second Baptist, and that's not even where I go to church. I had no business being out there (playing football). There's no doubt about that. At the same time, we play football all the time in the offseason. I use that as part of just staying in shape."


Berkman, 28, just finished a three-year contract that paid him $11 million with all the incentives. Activities such as flag football are barred in standard contracts, but because his contract expired after the Astros were eliminated in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series last month, he broke no contractual obligations.

"Players have lives outside of the game," Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. "What they do with those lives (is) their decision. They bear some risks. The way Lance has handled this is absolutely first class and what you'd expect from Lance Berkman."

I suppose if you're ever going to suffer an injury like this, the beginning of November is the best time to do it. He may be back at essentially full strength by Opening Day, and he may still be struggling to get on track by Memorial Day, but barring any further catastrophe he ought to be in the lineup for most of the year. Let's hope he recovers quickly.

In other Astros news, David Pinto discusses Carlos Beltran's initial contract rumblings, and why he'd probably do better looking for a shorter deal.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 06, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack