Chase Utley plans to play in 2012

Chase Utley will play in 2012. If it’s up to him anyway.

The All-Star addressed the media Sunday for the first time since leaving Phillies camp last week to see a therapist. Utley underwent non-surgical treatments and plans to continue manual therapy on his injured knees.

Utley confirmed that he will miss Opening Day, but he fully expects to return at some point.

“Obviously, I’m not going to be ready for opening day. I don’t really have a timeline on when I will be available,” Utley told reporters. “I’m very optimistic this is going to turn out well. But again it’s going to take a little time and I have to do this right.”

Utley has been working with therapist Brett Fischer. He claims his knee condition is not chronic and it is not tendinitis. Utley called it chondromalacia, which is an abnormal softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.

When news first broke that Utley was making an “announcement,” speculation ran wild about the second baseman’s future. It even inspired a Twitter hashtag #UtleyAnnouncement. The 33-year-old laughed off any notion that the condition would force him to retire.

“It’s not bad enough to end my career. It’s an issue I’m going to have to deal with,” Utley said. “I’m 33 years old. I know some people think that’s old, but I still feel like I have a lot of baseball left in me.”

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