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Quick Lo Duca update

So Paul Lo Duca's agent, Andrew Mongelluzzi, said tonight via e-mail that he understood Lo Duca's MRI on Friday revealed a minor meniscus tear and that Lo Duca would undergo surgery on Monday morning, with recovery expected to take three- to six weeks.

GM Jim Bowden, however, said that all the Nationals have is the MRI, and that they still wanted Lo Duca to see Nationals orthopedist Ben Shaffer. He said the MRI showed an "abnormal meniscus (possible tear)". Either way, Bowden said if surgery was needed, estimated recovery time would be 4-6 weeks, and that would get him back in plenty of time for Opening Day.

The upshot: He's Nationals' property now, and they clearly don't want to finalize anything before they've seen him, but it appears surgery is at least likely and either way, he'll be ready for Opening Day without further complications. Six weeks from tomorrow is March 3.

The downside: He could miss some time getting used to the pitching staff, and vice versa.

Will get you more on Monday as it becomes available.

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 27, 2008; 9:52 PM ET
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Next: Lo Duca: Surgery later today


Thanks, Barry. Now get some sleep...

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 27, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

What other beat reporter posts at 10:00 on a Sunday.

WAPO, please let him still do stuff for the Nats part time.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | January 27, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

That flushing sound you hear is $5 million going down the drain. Are there any other FA catchers out there worth signing?

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 27, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Flores will be getting a little xtra work in. And, the question marks begin, where will they end? Who knows.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 27, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Will there ever come a time when the Nationals won't have to deal with odd injuries?

That said, I'm still a bit worried about Lo Duca. I'm not sure why he was favored over Johnny Estrada. Netierh of them are good defensive players but Estrada seems to be better offensively at this stage.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | January 27, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

You can always trust those agents with those recovery estimates 35 old knees spring back like chickens. Yeah right

Posted by: bucket | January 28, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

if he gets somemore HGH oopps cant do that anymore

Posted by: bucket | January 28, 2008 1:19 AM | Report abuse

... no web site can be said to provide the definitive answer to any question. But I searched for the side effects of HGH and found a site ( which offers the following:

"HGH ... use leads to more long-term complications such as ... chronic joint pain and swelling. Long-term abuse, as seen in athletic use, can lead to more pronounced, and sometimes deadly, side effects such as ... joint and facial deformities ..."

... if this is even partly true, is it any wonder that Low Duke is showing these symptoms now.

... I admire the Nats for taking on reclamation projects such as Elijah Dukes, but I question whether that sensitivity and confident readiness to help will be as successful in a case such as this as it has been in more conventional situations of the past, such as Dennis Martinez, Oil Can Boyd and more recently, Dmitri Young.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | January 28, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

A question about Lo Duca--regarding the amt of time he will have to get used to the pitching staff, I assume he'll be a Viera as early as possible, regardless of when he actually starts catching. In that case he'll be seeing the pitching staff close up, so that would help a lot, wouldn't it? I suppose there's no substitute for actual catching, but he wd learn a lot about our pitchers & cd help them out, right?

Posted by: Section 109 (old Section 406) | January 28, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Another piece that touches on HGH side effects, this one from the Mayo Clinic:

(FWIW, in my Google search just now, using the acronym brought up lots of companies that sell it, but using the full term brought up some other sources such as the one above. That said, the Mayo Clinic piece was also aimed at patients who might be making decisions about use.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

This is not good news. For the Nats, minor injuries appear to develop into longer nagging problems which requires the player to spend a great deal of time on the DL and/or end up with a disappointing year. And, the Nats only have him for 1 year!

Posted by: Sam | January 28, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I come to praise LoDuca not to bury him.... It is reasonable to assume that LoDuca is guilty of everything he has been accused of - steroids, HGH, betting on the races, and sleeping with young bimbos. It is also fair to point out that by most statistical measures that he is either equal to or better than Schnieder offensively. He has been quite successful calling games. His major skill flaw is throwing out baserunners where he is below average. His reputation as a teammate is mixed with some saying he is a leader on and off the field and others saying that he can be abbrasive off the field.

He injurred himself working out, then reported it promptly and sought help quickly.

He'll probabbly still have plenty of time in spring training with the pitchers that make the team.

I will have no trouble routing enthusiastically for LoDuca or the other new faces this year. I'm looking forward to watching them. I hope the rumors of FLop being released are as silly as they sound. (I mean really ... if they offer him $4.9 are they really going to release him if he wins $5.2?)

Posted by: NatBisquit | January 28, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Good front page article in the W Times on construction around the stadium, worth the read.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | January 28, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Great Shakespeare reference, NatBisquit. Proves my point that this is the most literate blog on

Good to see you, Nastcan. Great points. This isn't the first alleged former PED user we've seen come down with an injury after allegedly quitting, and it won't be the last.

Maybe this has nothing to do with LoDuca's HGH use. It's a knee injury to a 35 year-old catcher, so it's not entirely shocking. What this does prove, though, is that Mitchell Report guys are not going to duck the added scrutiny. Every move they make will be viewed through that murky PED lens.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 28, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Barry, were you perhaps looking at last week's calendar pages when you wrote that?


Six weeks from today would, in theory, have Lo Duca ready March 3, which is early in the Nationals' Grapefruit League schedule and would leave him nearly four weeks of preparation before the opener.

Posted by: natsfan1a | January 28, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

For a catcher, I would imagine a meniscus injury could develop into a very nagging one.

The menisci - there are two of them in each knee - are cartilege pads that act as the knee's shock absorbers. Depending on the severity of the injury, the surgeon can repair the tear in several ways.

A small tear can be repaired by essentially fusing it. A larger tear can be repaird by "shaving" it down, which effectively reduces its shock-absorbing qualities.

My wife had surgery to repair, along with a torn ACL, each meniscus in her left knee. The surgeon was able to fuse one, but the other was shredded ("crab meat," the surgeon said). They shaved off about 1/3 of it. To this day, it's not the ACL or the patellar tendon (from which they crafted the ACL) that hurt. It's the one meniscus that was shaved down.

LoDuca is 35, right? As a catcher, it stands to reason his knees are at least slightly older. This injury has the potential to age that one knee even more, and possibly make it more sensitive to cold or damp weather.

It stands to reason that he will have a better recovery than my wife. For one, he is an athlete. For two, his surgery and rehabilitation will be more, let's say, invested.

Still, there's a good chance we could be seeing something closer to a platoon this season.


For the Nats, minor injuries appear to develop into longer nagging problems which requires the player to spend a great deal of time on the DL and/or end up with a disappointing year.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 28, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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