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We learned on Thursday that Ted Lilly had experienced pain in his right knee when trying to start throwing in Spring camp. He went for an MRI yesterday, and we all felt unsettled.

Whew. You can unclench.

An MRI of Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly’s right knee showed nothing but “normal wear and tear,” so the only change the left-hander needs to make will be to cut down on his running and switch to bike riding.

“It felt better,” Lilly said Friday after playing catch. “It wasn’t something I was real concerned about. … I want to do everything I can to be healthy and have the best season possible.”

Lilly had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last July, but said the soreness he felt in recent days wasn’t as bad as last year.

“The MRI showed he had a little wear and tear on his knee, but he was able to do his work, get his throwing in and he had no discomfort at all,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We’re going to modify his training program, probably a little less running, a little more bike, those sort of things. We’re just going to monitor it and see how he is. It’s good news for us. It could’ve been a lot worse.”

Lilly does like to run but understands he needs to switch up his cardio workouts.

“The idea is to stay off it,” the left-hander said of his knee. “That’s the advice I’ve been given. It makes sense but it’s not as much fun. You do whatever you can do and whatever adjustments need to be made.” cubs.com.

Hopefully the rest that his knee will now need will not slow his shoulder recovery, but it’s hard to imagine that it will have no impact at all. Obviously this is good news, but it certainly puts a crimp in Lilly’s hopes to return by Opening Day or even within the first couple of weeks of the season. I think it’s more likely that we’re now looking at Lou Piniella’s original time line of Lilly returning around May 1.

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