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Surgery scheduled tomorrow for Josh Willingham

Left fielder Josh Willingham will have season-ending arthroscopic surgery Wednesday at Washington Hospital Center to repair the damaged meniscus in his left knee. Willingham will begin rehab immediately and will likely be finished in six weeks. While his 2010 season is over, Willingham should come to spring training next year at full health.

"I'm just kind of taking it for what it is," Willingham said. "It's something that was going to have to get done at the end of the year. It got to where I couldn't play on it a little earlier. So that's the way we're going to do it. It stinks."

Before the injury struck, Willingham had been enjoying the best season of his career. At the all-star break, Willingham was hitting .281 with a .411 on-base percentage, a .502 slugging percentage and 15 home runs.

Willingham knew the problem existed back in April, when the Nationals gave him an MRI exam to diagnose the issue. He played with the meniscus damage for months without issue. The injury worsened shortly after the all-star break, and it became untenable on the Nationals' road trip to Arizona and Los Angeles from Aug. 2 to Aug. 8.

On the final day of the trip, Willingham scored from second on a single and slid home. After that play, his knee ached even as he flew home to Alabama and spent time with his family. "It just never got better," Willingham said.

Willingham said the injury affected him at the plate "maybe a little subconsciously" but mostly running the bases and in the outfield, especially stopping and starting.

Willingham endured the same injury and underwent the same surgery on his right knee as a minor league catcher. "It's not that bad as far as rehab goes," Willingham said.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 24, 2010; 6:15 PM ET
 
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