HOUSTON -- Rather than address Steve Pearce's left knee tendinitis with surgery, the Pirates are hopeful that an injection will suffice.
Dr. Patrick DeMeo examined Pearce in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and recommended that he have a platelet rich plasma injection into his patella tendon on Wednesday. Pearce had been diagnosed with patella tendinitis last Friday after having an MRI done on his left knee in Indianapolis.
Following seven-to-10 days of inactivity after the procedure, Pearce will be able to resume treatments and exercises. Still, general manager Neal Huntington estimated that Pearce will not be able to return to game activities until early August at best.
If the PRP injection does not produce desired results, surgery would be the next consideration. It'll likely take four-to-six weeks to determine the success of the injection and how well it is controlling Pearce's symptoms.
Knee pain forced Pearce to stop playing last week while he was with Triple-A Indianapolis finishing up a rehab assignment for a sprained right ankle. Pearce has dealt with achy knees before, but until now, he had always been able to play through the discomfort.
"It got to a point where it really flared up," manager John Russell said. "Hopefully this works and gets him back."
Even if Pearce is able to avoid surgery and return to the field next month, this injury is cutting into the time the Pirates have to determine if the first baseman might fit into the club's long-term plans. Pearce will be out of options after this season and still hasn't had the chance to play regularly in Pittsburgh for any lengthy stretch of time.
At the time he sprained his ankle in late May, Pearce was 8-for-29 (.276) with five RBIs in 15 games with Pittsburgh.