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JOHNSON'S LEG STILL LOOKS NICKED UP

[February 16th] -- So when is Nick Johnson returning to the Washington Nationals?

Nick gave an interview in Viera that was video taped and put on the Washington Post's website. A couple of things caught my eye during the interview.

He said that he was shooting for a "June" return to the Nationals. From the look on his face, I got the feeling that he didn't believe it. He shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows and gave me the impression that he really didn't believe what he was saying. When a reporter asked him if he might miss the entire season as a result of his injury, his response that it he would be okay wasn't particularly forceful.

Once the interview was over, Johnson, turned and walked away. Well, he didn't walk way. He couldn't. What he could do was to gingerly slip-slide one leg in front of the other as he headed towards the dugout. He also told reporters that he has yet to be able to work out at all, that he's yet to break a sweat since the injury. He then joked that perhaps he'd eaten too well over the winter.

Jim Bowden said later that Johnson's June return date isn't based on any medical judgment that the team provided.

June is 3 1/2 months from now. Considering that the injury occurred 4 1/2 months ago, I'm not so sure that he's going to be strong enough to take the field that soon. And if you recall, initial reports after his surgery last fall gave Nationals' fans a virtual guarantee that Nick would be ready to go when spring training opened.

And that didn't exactly go according to plan.

I feel very bad for Nick. He's a great guy and a great player. But now it looks like 2008 will be his first opportunity to play a full season in the major leagues without an injury. Jim Bowden said yesterday that Larry Broadway has first dibs at becoming the teams temporary first baseman until Nick Returns. If things are heading the way I think they are, Broadway (or Travis Lee or Dmitiri Young) are going to get far more than than the 40 or 50 games at first that the team first suggested.

Are we looking at a all-star break return?

I'm really sorry, Nick. It's just not fair.


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