Howard will officially begin his rehab assignment with Class-A Lakewood on Thursday afternoon. On Tuesday, Charlie Manuel said he had spoken to Howard, who was still running with a bit of a limp. Functional testing was done today and Howard was deemed ready for action.
I caught Howard in action working with trainer Scott Sheridan on the field earlier this afternoon and he ran well, but looked winded after some sprints and shuttle runs. He appeared to have no trouble moving laterally as Sheridan ordered him to go from cone to cone during the drills.
With this rehab assignment, Howard has a maximum of 20 days. If there is a setback, that clock can be stopped. If all goes well, he would be eligible to come back to the Phillies on July 18, perhaps even earlier if things progress more rapidly.
Howard is still gaining strength in his lower half after going through a second surgery to clean out an infection around his achillies incision. For several months he was unable to use his legs, so it will take some time for him to get his sea legs.
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