Texas Rangers

What Lies Ahead For Josh Hamilton

I can sympathize with Josh Hamilton.

The season is over for the Texas Rangers outfielder, as Hamilton will undergo another knee surgery next month to repair a damaged meniscus and possibly cartilage. The former American League MVP had surgery on the same knee during the offseason. It will be the third knee surgery for Hamilton since September.

As someone who's had two knee surgeries during their collegiate baseball playing days (one that wiped out my sophomore season), I know it's not fun.

The rehab you have to go through just to be able to walk right again, let alone step back onto the field, can be grueling. It's a lot of long hours and dedication to get back to where you once were, and that's if it's even possible.

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Knee injuries are tricky and sometimes you're just not able to fully recover and return to form. Some people are able to bounce back, but there are those that don't.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says Hamilton is "100-percent committed to coming back to play next year." You need to have that type of mentality, and it's a good sign that Hamilton does. And you will need that mentality every day during rehab, and there will be times when you have to remind yourself of it.

Hamilton, who turned 35 years old on Saturday, is under contract with the Rangers through next season, with the Los Angeles Angels picking up all but $2 million of his salary. The Angels paid his full salary this season, $26.4 million.

It will be a long road to recovery for Hamilton. It won't be easy, and there will be frustrations along the way, but it can be done. The only question is once he's able to return, will we see the 2012 Josh Hamilton that went for 43 homers and 128 RBIs or someone who could never fully recover?

Only time will tell. 

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