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Mantle Out Indefinitely with Loose Cartilage in Knee

July 25, 1963 - Mickey Mantle, the American League’s highest paid player and No. 1 attraction, will remain out of the Yankee lineup for an indefinite period because of loose cartilage on the outside of the left knee. “There is absolutely no way of telling when he will return to action,” manager Ralph Houk disclosed at a news conference at Yankee Stadium. “He may be able to play within a week, or he may be unable to play for the rest of the season. No one really knows — not Mantle, not the doctors.” Houk added: “We don’t want to minimize this. We felt it was better to announce to everyone what the situation was, to relieve the pressure on Mantle of being asked every five minutes by everyone when he was going to play.” On June 5, Mantle broke a bone in his left foot when he crashed into the center-field fence in Baltimore in a fruitless effort to prevent a home run. He has been inactive since. He rejoined the club July 10 in Los Angeles, and started to take batting practice. The slugger had been expected to return to work this weekend. The foot had healed perfectly. But during his jogging exercises in the outfield last week, the knee — a problem for years — started to bother him. Houk said Mantle, who did not appear at the press conference, was “very upset.” Today, Dr. Sidney Gaynor, club physician, said: “The only treatment is to wrap the knee thoroughly and give it plenty of rest. If surgery is needed, we’ll wait until after the season is over.” Mantle has been plagued by injuries since his freshman year of 1951. He suffered a severe knee injury in the second game of the World Series that year which required surgery. Mantle’s healthiest year was 1956, when he played 150 games and wound up winning the Triple Crown and the MVP award.


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