Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves hits a 3rd inning home run against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

After Missing 12 Games With Knee Injury, Chipper Jones Returns

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Chipper Jones Injury: Atlanta's All-Star 3B Back In Action

According to Mark Bowman, Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will be activated in time for Monday night's game against the Pirates.

Chipper hasn't played since the 8th of July, after which he went on the Disabled List with a knee injury that required (relatively) minor surgery. Thanks to the All-Star break, Jones has missed only 12 games. Before going on the DL, Chipper was having a season roughly in line with his 2009 and '10 campaigns: not great, but good.

In his absence, Martin Prado's been playing third base. With Chipper back in the lineup, Prado figures to slide back to left field, which will cost Eric Hinske most of the playing time he's been getting lately.

More than anything, this just improves the Braves' depth, with Hinske or Prado available off the bench. The Braves have sometimes struggled to score runs this season, and every little bit helps. Chipper's return means somebody else is losing his spot on the 25-man roster, but no word yet on that unfortunate's identity.

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Chipper Jones Injury: Braves Third Baseman Having Surgery

Atlanta's Chipper Jones has been playing through knee pain for a while. He acknowledged at the end of June that his knee had been bothering him. He had a cortisone shot last weekend that didn't help. On Saturday, the Braves placed Jones on the disabled list with a meniscus tear, and also on Saturday, it's been confirmed that Jones will undergo surgery. David O'Brien:

Braves Jones will not travel to Phoenix for All-Star game, instead staying in Atlanta to recuperate from surgery (scheduled today 3 p.m.)

This isn't going to be a major operation, and Jones is expected to be out for 3-4 weeks of action, meaning his 2011 season is by no means over. And now's a good time to get this done and out of the way, with the All-Star break approaching and Martin Prado returning from the DL. With luck, the Braves will survive Jones' absence, and he'll be back and good to go for the stretch run.

Jones owns a 111 OPS+, which is his lowest mark since the 108 he posted as a rookie in 1995.

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Chipper Jones Injury: Braves Third Baseman May Need Knee Surgery

In addition to summer, this season of the year appears to be "third baseman knee surgery season". Earlier today, it was reported that the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez had a meniscus tear and might need knee surgery.

The Braves' Chipper Jones has a similar meniscus injury and may miss the All-Star Game, according to the Sporting News:

In addition, Jones might spend the All-Star break having arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee. The procedure likely would sideline him for 2-3 weeks.

The 39-year-old Jones missed significant time with injuries in 2010 and is having a down year in 2011, hitting just .259/.340/.428 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 77 games so far.

If Jones cannot play in the All-Star Game, the logical replacement for him would be the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez, who is leading all NL regular third basemen with an .854 OPS, 15 HR and 50 RBI. Of Ramirez' 15 home runs, 10 of them have been hit in his last 15 games.

Jones was placed on the disabled list Saturday and infielder Brandon Hicks was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to take his place on the 25-man roster.

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