Doc lifts Machado's knee restrictions

All the physical restrictions related to Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado's reconstructive knee surgery have been lifted by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, whom Machado visited Thursday in Los Angeles for a follow-up evaluation.

However, the Orioles' All-Star infielder will continue to rehabilitate the mild calf and hamstring strains that have been troubling him since last week.

ElAttrache, the Dodgers' orthopedic surgeon, performed the surgery to reconstruct Machado's torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee in October and has since been monitoring his progress closely. Since his last visit to ElAttrache in late January, Machado has been increasing his baseball-related activities to include hitting, fielding and baserunning.

Based on his progress, Machado has been granted permission to proceed to the final phase of rehabilitation, which includes building up his conditioning and performance to the point of playing in games.

"He looks better every time I see him," ElAttrache said. "His kneecap is tracking normally, his muscle girth is almost the same as his opposite leg and his level of function exceeds where we thought he'd be at this point."

The 21-year-old Machado made the AL All-Star team last year in his first full season in the majors. He played in all 156 games before twisting his knee while running to first base in a game against Tampa Bay.

Whether he's in the team's starting lineup on Opening Day this season remains uncertain, but Thursday's developments were a step in the right direction.

"The news couldn't have been any better today," Machado said. "I'm excited. I'm just that much closer to being out on the field."