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Thoughts from Dukes, lineups against Volquez

Elijah Dukes hobbled into the Nats clubhouse today on crutches, his right knee heavily wrapped. Here's what he said about his condition, his feelings, his recovery, etc.

What happened as you were trying to make that catch?

A: I don't know. As I went to turn, I felt the pop, and I just told myself to make sure I make the catch at least. I just told myself to stay up, and by jumping against the wall that was my way of standing up to throw the ball so [Bernadina] could throw it in. But the pop came before the catch. I don't know how. I didn't feel a twist or nothing, so I guess you could say it was a freak accident. I didn't twist my ankle.

How disappointing is this for you?

A: I mean, I'm disappointed. The team - we were starting to make a turnaround. We were making it tough for teams to beat us, and normally when you get to that breaking point like that you know things will start to turn around. ... Everybody was coming back. You had Austin coming back, Zimmerman was coming back, and now I'm out. That's the disappointing part. I really wanted to be able to be on the field when we had everybody back and healthy again, and now I've kind of done slowed up that process.

Is it going to be hard to not push yourself too hard to come back, knowing how much you want to play?

A: Oh, it ain't no question I'm going to push myself hard to come back. That's just the way I am. I don't like to sit around and do nothing. If I can do something to get back faster, I'm going to do it. I don't plan on taking as long as I can. I plan on taking as quick as I can.

Do you have an idea of first steps?

A: No, I don't know. This is my first time hurting with this part of the body. I'm going to listen to the docs as far as staying off of it for as long as they want me to, but when I start walking, I'm able to start working out, I'll probably increase that a little.

You had a meniscus injury before, right? What was that injury like for you?

A: When I had my meniscus and cartilage done, I came back, actually, in like two weeks. I pushed myself to the max, basically, every day. That's what I plan to do this time. Hopefully I can come back real quick and fast. Who knows. Maybe I'll be alright tomorrow.

When was that meniscus injury?

A: I had hurt that back in high school. It just took me a long time to get the surgery, because I felt like I could play with it. So, I played and then in the offseason I decided to get it cleaned up, but I could have kept playing. But, with this injury, I can't play on it because it's a patella tendon and that's keeping my leg from not bending.

How are you feeling?

A: I like to play regardless of -- it put me in a down stage because I just came back, and to get hurt twice in one year is something new for me. I don't plan on making this my career, getting hurt. So you best believe I'll be doing some aerobics or something different next year to stay healthy longer.



Lopez -- 4
Belliard -- 5
Guzman -- 6
Kearns -- 9
Young -- 3
Lo Duca -- 2
Pena -- 7
Bernadina -- 8
Balester -- 1


Hairston Jr. -- 8
Keppinger -- 6
Griffey Jr. -- 9
Phillips -- 4
Dunn -- 7
Encarnacion -- 5
Votto -- 3
Ross -- 2
Volquez -- 1

By Chico Harlan  |  July 6, 2008; 12:26 PM ET
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