Gordon ahead of schedule on hip rehab

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Just two hours after hip surgery, still numb and woozy, Kansas City Royals third baseman Alex Gordon was riding a stationary bike.

It didn't go too well.

"I ended up puking on the bike," Gordon said Monday. "It was a pretty funny story."

Gordon's recovery has gone much better since then.

The 25-year-old was back at Kauffman Stadium on Monday, less than three weeks since undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. He has followed the post-surgery bike ride by progressing quickly through rehab, ditching his crutches sooner than doctors expected.

Walking with a barely noticeable limp, Gordon plans to start throwing in about two weeks -- four weeks after surgery -- and graduate to light swings a week later. He's scheduled for a checkup with the doctors in Vail after six weeks, when he hopes to be cleared to start running again.

"I want to get out there as soon as possible," he said. "Obviously, I haven't gotten in when I can come back. You always hear this, but I'm taking it one day at a time."

A fitness fanatic, Gordon has never had trouble with his hip before. After a strong spring training, he felt it tighten while standing in the cold during the pregame festivities on opening day, then noticed it even more while running the bases after hitting a home run.

Gordon tried to play through the pain, but had just two hits in 21 at-bats his first seven games. The No. 2 overall pick in 2005, Gordon went on the 15-day disabled list on April 16 and had surgery the next day in Colorado.

"Throughout the season it kept getting worse and worse," Gordon said. "I was trying to play through it, but it was something that was just irritating, wasn't really fun to play through."

Gordon's surgery was similar to what New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez went through just a few weeks before. It was performed by the same doctor, too: Dr. Marc Philippon, of Vail Valley Surgery Center in Colorado.

Royals head trainer Nick Swartz said a flap of the labrum, a piece of cartilage that lines the hip socket to stabilize and cushion the joint, had torn away and Dr. Philippon tacked it back to the socket. Before Gordon and Rodriguez, the injury wasn't all that common in baseball, usually occurring more often in contact sports like football and hockey.

"In my 33 years of professional baseball, this is the first one I've seen this way," Swartz said. "It's ironic in 2009 that we have two of these take place within a period of about a month."

Since surgery, Gordon has gone through nearly four hours of treatment and rehab a day, trying to strengthen his leg and regain stability in the hip. Being able to do it in Kansas City, where he can watch the first-place Royals in person, is going to be a nice change.

"I was getting it over the Internet, so I couldn't really see it, I was only getting the box score," Gordon said of tracking the Royals. "I really had nothing else to do, so I kind of sat on the computer watching pitch by pitch what was going on. Coming home and seeing them on TV was kind hard, knowing you could be out there helping them. It's tough, but good to see that they're playing well. That makes it a lot easier."