Schwarber turns focus to rehab, next year

Cubs outfielder won't let season-ending injury dampen spirits

Schwarber turns focus to rehab, next year

PHOENIX -- Kyle Schwarber said he felt sorry for himself for about 30 minutes, and then the Cubs outfielder was ready to tackle the long rehab ahead to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee, suffered Thursday night in a season-ending collision.

"I look at it as, I have a whole year to prepare for a new season," Schwarber said Saturday. "There's bumps in the road, but it's not like I'm preparing for the season with three months to go. I've got a whole year. I feel I'll come back even better."

Schwarber, who tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee after running into teammate Dexter Fowler in no-man's land in left center, will fly to Chicago with the team after Sunday's game and see the Cubs orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo on Monday. Surgery has not been scheduled, but was expected to be done within the next three weeks.

Schwarber's ankle was more painful than his knee after the collision, but his knee was swollen and he could tell it wasn't right. An MRI Friday revealed the torn ligaments.

"I knew something was wrong, but didn't see two tears coming," he said.

Being told you're done for the year after two games was tough to deal with, but Schwarber is resilient, thanks to support from the Cubs players, manager Joe Maddon and others.

"I was obviously disappointed for 30 minutes," Schwarber said. "I got to talk to some of the guys and they definitely brought my spirits up. It's not the way you plan your season going by playing two games and now you're out for the season. Now I have to be there for them in a different way, not on the field, but wherever I can be, whether that's cheering from the dugout if I can make it back to the game, or just talking to them.

"They reiterated that I'm still going to be a part of this team, which means a lot to me," he said. "Obviously, I have a long process ahead, but that means a lot coming from the players and the staff."

Maddon told Schwarber, 23, they would support him, and added, "This is your reality now, and you're going to have to face it." A former linebacker, who was recruited by Ohio State, Schwarber has dealt with a meniscus tear in his right knee and had surgery on his thumb, but nothing as severe as this.

The Cubs' first-round pick in 2014, he was a big contributor in the second half and postseason last year, and was somehow able to move on after a half-hour of feeling bad.

"I could definitely feel bad if I did something wrong, or if I wasn't playing hard or something of that nature," Schwarber said. "Me and Dex did everything we possibly could to catch that ball. Literally, everything had to be on time for this to happen.

"My spirits won't get down," he said. "I know it'll be a long road and I know there will be ups and downs. I just have to keep a good attitude with this and cheer these guys on. It's going to be a fun ride for these guys."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.