In 2005, Kenny Lofton stole 22 bases for the Phillies. A 26-year-old Jimmy Rollins was just entering his prime, and he had a question for the prolific base stealer: How do you keep sliding headfirst without hurting your knees?
Lofton suggested Rollins wear knee pads, so the shortstop has done so ever since. He was wearing them Saturday in Pittsburgh when he fouled a ball off his right kneecap. And if it weren't for the pad, Rollins thinks something could have been fractured. So thank Lofton for that.
Instead, Rollins insists that a stint on the disabled list is not needed for a bone bruise. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that an MRI exam revealed a "pretty significant" bruise and that the team would decide in the next 24 to 48 hours whether Rollins needed to be disabled.
"If I go on the DL," Rollins said, "it's purely because they made a bad decision."
Amaro said the MRI showed bruising on Rollins' patella and another bone near the kneecap. Bruising on the soft tissue also caused inflammation.
But the prevailing notion is that it could have been worse. Rollins said he went through throwing drills before Tuesday's game and planned to run on the treadmill during the game. He could take batting practice Wednesday and return in a few days.
Rollins said the swelling in his knee had almost subsided. There was improvement from Sunday to Monday, he said, and more Tuesday. On Monday, a doctor drained fluid from the knee.
"It was never a point where I thought I would be on the DL," Rollins said. "It's never been in question."
Amaro was less sure, but expressed optimism. "We'll see how it reacts," he said.
Rollins could play Wednesday, manager Charlie Manuel said. The shortstop was hitting in the cage during the game Tuesday and pinch-hit in the ninth inning. Even if Rollins starts, second baseman Chase Utley could receive a day off after playing five consecutive days.
Brad Lidge returned to Philadelphia for an examination by team physician Michael Ciccotti and left with another cortisone shot in his right elbow and more uncertainty.
Lidge said the soreness in his elbow is akin to what he experiences every spring, and he could begin throwing again in a week. This is a separate problem from what first disabled Lidge - a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
This setback makes Lidge's return before the all-star break unlikely, but the righthander still is shooting for that target.
"That's definitely still within the cards," Lidge said.
The emergence of Ryan Madson means Lidge will serve as a middle reliever or setup man when he returns.
"I'm more open to different roles because it's what we need to do to win," Lidge said. "I'm sure it's what Charlie will ask me when I get back. . . . As long as I've been out, and with how well Madson's been doing, it would be ridiculous for me to want anything else other than to pitch when they want me to pitch."
Kyle Kendrick will make another start Thursday against Chicago. The righthander also could start one of the doubleheader games next Wednesday against Florida. The Phillies eventually will need an extra starter for either one of the doubleheader games or a game in Seattle. . . . Backup catcher Brian Schneider (left hamstring strain) will be examined by Ciccotti this weekend and could begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment as early as next week, Amaro said. Schneider has not played since May 11. . . . There is no set date for Joe Blanton (right elbow inflammation) to begin his throwing program, Amaro said.