Willingham's knee may require offseason surgery
Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham, out of the lineup tonight for the second straight game, acknowledged he has been limited on the field by the soreness in his left knee and said it may require surgery this offseason.
Willingham said he wouldn't use his knee as an excuse for his recent slump -- which includes a homerless streak dating to July 2 and a .192 batting average and .525 OPS since the all-star break -- but said he has been limited by the injury, which he said is in the cartilage of his knee. Asked if it could require surgery after the season, Willingham said, "Possibly."
The knee first began bothering Willingham in April, but the pain eventually died down, only to resurface about two weeks ago on an awkward slide into third base.
"We probably should have given him a game [off] back then, and didn't," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "It got to this point where he's shown a little wear and tear on it."
Riggleman said he expects Willingham to play Friday night, and Willingham said he would continue to play on the knee "until it either blows out, or I cant take the pain anymore, or if I feel like I cant be effective."
Willingham, who is making $4.6 million this season, is under the Nationals' control for 2011, and is due a sizable raise via arbitration.
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