Hamilton back in Rangers camp after left knee exam

Veteran has no structural damage but will proceed with caution this weekend

Hamilton back in Rangers camp after left knee exam

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton is back in camp with the Rangers after an examination of his left knee showed no significant structural damage.

Hamilton will back off his workouts through the weekend. His goal is still to be on the Opening Day roster, but that wasn't helped by this recent setback of feeling discomfort in his left knee.

Hamilton was examined by Dr. Walt Lowe in Houston on Wednesday, and an MRI showed no major structural issues, especially in the surgically repaired left knee. The MRI did show a subtle change in the knee, which may be a loose flap where cartilage was also repaired.

"[Lowe] said everything looks stable, ACL looks good," Hamilton said. "Just that one spot, lateral side of his knee, which is very similar to the pain I had before the surgery."

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Hamilton, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery on June 8, said he felt a "sharp pain" in the outside of his left knee while running on Tuesday. That led him to fly back to Houston and be examined by Lowe.

"It was enough to tell me to stop doing what I was doing," Hamilton said. "Pain got worse and worse standing there. I decided to come in and talk to the training staff. By the time I left, it was even worse."

Hamilton was given a platelet-rich plasma injection in Houston, and he could already tell a difference.

"It's better to get an answer and get a scan and know what we're dealing with," Hamilton said. "Understand it's a process for the next couple of months. It was kind of a shock to me."

Hamilton's plan for the next couple of days is to stay inside for treatment and ride the exercise bicycle. He is hoping to start swinging in the cages by Monday, and then begin the long road back to catch up with his teammates.

Hamilton is in camp on a Minor League contract, but he can become a free agent at the end of the camp if he is not on the Rangers' Opening Day roster. The goal in Spring Training was to make the team by showing he could stay healthy, swing the bat, learn first base and occasionally play the outfield.

Right now, Hamilton is just trying to get healthy again, and making the Opening Day roster may becoming a long shot, at best.

"After battling with the knee for so long the last couple of years, this is a little tiny blip in the big scheme of things, so my confidence hasn't wavered any," Hamilton said. "I'm still focused on being here and being part of this team. I'm not in any hurry, because it's really early in camp."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.