NEW YORK -- New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis, who has not appeared in a game since May 10 because of a left ankle injury, may require season-ending surgery in three weeks if he is unable to run at that point, general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Davis, who has been wearing a protective boot, was examined Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. An MRI showed cartilage damage in addition to a bone bruise.
"I had to know there was something other than just the bruise," Davis said. "But, it kind of makes sense that the cartilage would get damaged if the bone was damaged like that if there's cartilage in the joint. But it's just three more weeks. Hopefully it starts healing up, and after three weeks we'll have to see what we have to do to get healthy."
Alderson said Davis will now shed the boot to improve blood flow and try to run in three weeks, after giving more time for the cartilage to heal. If he is unable to comfortably run at that point, surgery will follow.
Alderson likened the procedure to microfracture surgery on the knee. That surgery involves making tiny cracks to increase blood flow and stimulate cartilage growth.
Davis said that if he has to get microfracture surgery, he would have to be off his ankle for three months before he can rehab. Surgery would not impact the 2012 season, Alderson added.
"Obviously surgery is an athlete's nightmare, but I've had one surgery on my wrist and it worked out really well and it came back better than I was before," Davis said. "If it's gonna get me on the field again obviously that's something we have to do. But, obviously, we're gonna get a second opinion and see if everything coincides with everything everyone says, and hopefully in three weeks I'm starting to run again."
Said Alderson: "We're hopeful that over the next three weeks he will progress to running. If that is not successful, then there may be some consideration about doing some surgery on the ankle. Right now I don't see him coming back anytime soon. ... Basically over the next three weeks he'll progress to hopefully running. And if he can't tolerate the running, then we go to Plan B."
Davis' injury original occurred May 10 in a collision with third baseman David Wright on a popup in Colorado, causing the first baseman's left ankle to bend awkwardly.
"The reason I didn't think I had a normal ankle sprain was because when I was spraining my ankle or rolling my ankle, David's knee hit me in my shin and kind of made my bone force a little downward, so my tibia and talus scrapped each other or dented, and it's not a normal area to have it get dented," Davis said. "There's not a lot of blood in the ankle joint, so it's harder to heal than, say, an elbow."
Alderson said he did not believe that allowing Davis to do baseball activities within weeks of the injury, including running, worsened the situation, although the GM said the boot may have restricted blood flow and been counterproductive in that respect.
"I don't think there was any expectation the cartilage would be a major issue at this point," Alderson said.
Said Davis: "When it happened I thought I could play in like two days, but I didn't know that my bone was affected. I didn't know I had cartilage damage. I thought I just sprained my ankle."
Davis said he will take a week off before doing movement exercises, like walking and riding a stationary bike. He will also be getting in the hot and cold tub and doing ultrasound therapy.
If he is able to begin running in three weeks, then surgery would not be required, and Davis said it would take him about a month to rehab and play minor league games before he could return to the Mets for the final two months of the season.
Wright, who was subsequently shut down with an unrelated stress fracture in his lower back, is due to be examined Thursday. He's trying to get clearance to seriously upgrade his activity level. Wright took ground balls on his knees on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, but is not doing any overly taxing activity until the upcoming examination.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from Mike Mazzeo contributed to this report.