Wood to have minor surgery on knee

Wood to have arthroscopic knee surgery

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, who is already rehabbing from shoulder surgery, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday to repair a medial meniscus tear.

"They're not fixing anything, they're taking a piece out," Wood said Friday. "We're not in danger here."

The problem is so minor that it's not stopping Wood, 28, from continuing his bullpen sessions. He threw 25-30 pitches on Friday, his third time off a mound this spring, and will have a similar bullpen session on Monday before flying to Los Angeles for the operation. Dr. Lewis Yokum will perform the surgery.

"It doesn't bother him at all to pitch," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "In all honesty, he did not want to have the procedure. He felt as long as it didn't hurt to pitch, he wanted to continue because his arm is feeling so well.

"After I talked to the doctors, we felt that it's best to do it now," Hendry said. "I hate to see him in the middle of the summer going along well in normal activity running the bases, trip over the bag, field bunts, and it might get to the point where it would be a problem. I don't want that to happen, and then he changes his delivery.

"It's going to be a minor setback, but from a medical point of view, [team doctor Stephen Gryzlo] felt he could be throwing long toss even within a week after the surgery," Hendry said. "The 'pen today and the 'pen Monday will help build up his shoulder and try to minimize the setback as much as possible."

Wood had been making great progress after having arthroscopic shoulder surgery in late August, and he might have been ready in late April for the season. The knee surgery will set him back a couple weeks.

"Things were going pretty well," Wood said. "I wasn't paying any attention to [the shoulder]. There's no guarantee that it wouldn't pop up while I was covering a base or running the bases. I didn't want to take that gamble of not getting it done."

Wood first felt a problem with his knee about one week ago and said it "gradually got worse." He underwent an MRI and they found the tear.

"He was very opposed to [having surgery] at first," Hendry said. "He's worked hard and feeling so well that he didn't want to do this. Our stance is that if it's June 15 or July 7 and we're in the thick of the race and his knee acts up worse, then you have a problem. Then he tries to fight through the pain. Then if your knee is bothering you, it might affect your delivery. He's been through enough arm-wise that we're not going to take that chance.

"He was very adamant that it was not bothering him pitching," Hendry said. "After we went through it and talked about the possibilities of it acting up, I felt it was easier for him to accept this."

"It's better [to have the surgery] now than later," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He's been working out real hard all winter on his lower half. It shouldn't set him back too far. He's still going to be able to throw. He threw a heck of a side today, they tell me."

Wood went 13-6 his rookie season in 1998, then underwent elbow surgery and missed the entire 1999 season. He was limited to 10 starts and 21 total games last season because of shoulder problems, and went 3-4 with a 4.23 ERA.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.