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Lance Berkman Injury: ACL Tear Not Found, St. Louis Cardinals Slugger Will Return In 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals finally got the good news they'd been waiting for in the never-ending Lance Berkman injury saga: surgeons going in to repair his torn meniscus Friday discovered he hadn't torn his ACL, an injury that would have definitely ended his season and possibly ended his career. His meniscus repaired, Berkman is now likely to miss two months, give or take a couple of weeks, before the Cardinals can count on his return. But it looks like he will return—and in a season so snakebitten as this one, that qualifies as good news.

With Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter also on the disabled list—Craig has a hamstring injury, Carpenter a strained oblique—the Cardinals have been relying on Matt Adams, their rookie first baseman, to pick up the slack. Those three will soak up the bulk of the at-bats through July, when the Cardinals will begin to think about Berkman's role in their stretch run.

Berkman was vital to the Cardinals' World Series run in 2011, hitting .301/.412/.547 with 31 home runs and 94 RBI as their starting right fielder after suffering similar knee problems in 2010. In 2012 he's hit .333/.429/.571 in just 13 games, limited not only by this injury but by an earlier calf problem that caused him to miss most of April.