CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore sacrificed one season for what he hopes are many more.
The Indians' All-Star center fielder, and face of Cleveland's franchise, will miss the remainder of this season after having microfracture surgery on his left knee.
Sizemore underwent a 90-minute operation on Friday in Vail, Colo. The team said Dr. Richard Steadman found unstable cartilage in the knee, and having discussed the options prior to the operation, Sizemore preferred the microfracture surgery, which involves small holes being drilled into the kneecap to stimulate cartilage growth, as opposed to facing more future procedures.
Steadman couldn't determine the extent of the damage in Sizemore's knee until he began operating.
"It's tough because we were hoping he wouldn't have to get the microfracture surgery but this is what is best for him," Indians manager Manny Acta said before the start of a three-game series in Chicago. "It's going to give him the best chance to play longer and be as healthy as he can. What's good for him is good for us."
The Indians said Sizemore will need six to nine months to recover. Providing there are no setbacks, he is expected to participate in exhibition games next March when the Indians open training camp in Goodyear, Ariz.
The loss of Sizemore is another major blow to the Indians, who are in last place in the AL Central and struggling to sell tickets. Cleveland fans are enduring yet another rebuilding project and many are still bitter about the team's decisions to trade Cy Young winners CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee as well as All-Star catcher Victor Martinez in the past two years.
"Life without Grady here is not easy," Acta said. "We're suffering through that right now and we're going to have to be prepared for that for the rest of this season. It's an opportunity for some of these young kids to step up and contribute."
Sizemore injured his knee diving back to a base in April and re-injured it sliding May 16 at Baltimore.
He could have opted for a clean-out of his knee, but felt the microfracture surgery would produce better long-term results.
"Grady made it clear that he's only 27 and wanted to play for 10 more years and wanted to do what was best for him and didn't want to mess up his career," Acta said.
Sizemore will return to Cleveland on Thursday to begin rehab.
This is the latest medical setback for Sizemore, who was limited to 106 games last season before he had surgery on his elbow and groin. It could be that Sizemore's aggressive style of play is catching up to him. The 27-year-old is known for his all-out hustle, diving for balls and crashing into walls to make catches.
Before injuries cut short his 2009 season, Sizemore played in at least 157 games in each of the previous four seasons. He played in 382 straight games from 2005-08.