Tampa Bay Rays' Akinori Iwamura: "I still can't believe what happened to me"
Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, meeting with the media for the first time since successful arthroscopic knee surgery Monday revealed he could be back in six-to-eight weeks. "I still can't believe what happened to me,'' he said.
Iwamura thought his season was over after a collision with the Florida Marlins' Chris Coghlan on May 24 -- "the most painful moment" in his career -- and it was intially thought he would need reconstructive surgery on his left knee, which would have ended his season.
But on Monday, team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton found just a partial tear of Iwamura's anterior cruciate ligament and did an arthroscopic procedure instead, while also repairing a torn medial meniscus.
Team officials have said they expect Iwamura could be back in six-to-eight weeks.
"As soon as I came back to my senses, Dr. (Koco) Eaton was right there to explain things to me," Iwamura said through interpreter Bori Uchibori. "The first words he said was that the procedure went real well, and that a miracle happened. I was expecting a good thing, and it turned out like this. I'm very excited."
Iwamura said he doesn't have the specifics of his rehab yet but doesn't want to rush himself, planning to be "100 percent" when he gets back. He said initially he thought the knee was broken, and the pain was "sharp," making this news all the more surprising.
"I still can't believe what happened to me," Iwamura said. "But at the same time, I'm very excited about coming back and I'm going to be working with the team trainer and Dr Eaton, so everything should be ok."
- JOE SMITH