0

Chipper plans knee surgery, to attempt comeback

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones said Friday he will report to spring training next year with the Braves as he attempts a comeback from major knee surgery.

Jones, speaking for the first time since the team announced he tore his left ACL and will miss the rest of the season, said he will have surgery on the knee today.

The 38-year-old Jones says now is not the right time to ''make a decision to quit.''

''I'm going to go through the process just like I'm getting ready for spring training,'' he said. ''I don't know how the knee is going to respond.

''I'll try to get ready for spring training and we'll see how it feels after that.''

The expected recovery time is about six months, giving him a chance to be ready for spring training in 2011. Jones said earlier this season he would consider retirement after the season.

He was hurt in Tuesday night's game at Houston. Jones fielded Hunter Pence's grounder near third base, jumped in the air while making the throw to first, then collapsed to the ground in foul territory. Pence was out on the play.

''The play he got hurt on might have been the best play I've ever seen him make,'' said Braves general manager Frank Wren, who sat beside Jones at Friday's news conference. ''I mean, that was a Brooks Robinson play.''

Jones missed all of 1994, which was expected to be his rookie season, with the same injury to the same knee.

''I know I lost a step the first time I had this surgery,'' Jones said. ''If I lose another step I'm going to be going backward.''

Jones said he'll be able to walk away from the game if he finds in spring training he cannot play at an acceptable level.

''Yeah, and I'll know pretty quick,'' he said.

Jones said he is encouraged by medical advances since his 1994 surgery. He said today's surgery will be an arthroscopic procedure.

Jones returned from the 1994 injury to start on the Braves' 1995 World Series title team. He become a six-time All-Star who won the NL MVP award in 1999 and the NL batting title in 2007.

He has a .306 career batting average with 436 homers, third on the career list for switch-hitters behind Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504). No other switch-hitter has a .300 batting average and at least 300 career homers.