ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire said Tuesday he'd consider undergoing surgery before the season ended if it is the only option left to repair the patella tendon in his ailing right knee.
"It's an option, but it's like the final straw," McGwire said before the Cardinals game against Arizona. "I don't want that."
McGwire missed his 15th game with the knee injury Tuesday. He was leading the majors with 30 home runs when he went on the disabled list July 7.
Since then, McGwire said he has totally "shut down" his knee, trying to rest it as much as possible. Asked about what kind of treatment McGwire has received, Cardinals' trainer Barry Weinberg rattled off a list.
"We're trying everything, so we miss nothing," Weinberg said.
McGwire said he tried a light workout last week when the Cardinals were in Arizona. The next day, he said, his knee "felt like it had gone back to square one."
"Every time I bend my knee, it feels like it's going to tear. It's not good," McGwire said. "From what I understand about patella tendinitis, it just doesn't go away."
On the Cardinals recent 11-game road trip, manager Tony La Russa had suggested McGwire could be used as an "ultimate pinch hitter." When that got back to McGwire, he said he chuckled.
"Being out as long as I've been out now, if I got healthy tomorrow, it's going to talk me a week or so to get ready," he said.
The injury is similar to the one suffered by St. Louis Rams place-kicker Jeff Wilkins. Like Wilkins, McGwire said his right knee hurts the most when he bends over.
Wilkins is still building strength in his leg five months after a bone spur and degenerative tissue were removed from his knee.
"That's run through my mind, and I don't want to think about it right now," McGwire said. "We have two months left in the season. It's not like we finish next week. Two months is a long time."