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Helton upbeat about back surgery

Helton upbeat about back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton chose to celebrate his pending back surgery by putting himself through a workout Thursday.

Helton was informed Wednesday by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins that he'll need surgery on his bulging disk, and it'll take place Tuesday in Marina Del Rey, Calif. But Helton, who visited Watkins on Wednesday, was upbeat Thursday.

"We're confident that he's going to fix me, and I'll be good for a long time, so it was definitely what I wanted to hear," Helton said. "I'm just going to do what they tell me. I'm going to get my back better first, then I'm going to get ready for baseball."

Helton has dealt with back issues since 2002, but never went on the disabled list for them until July of this year. He's had just two at-bats since. Should he have considered surgery sooner? In the past few years, he's rested, put on extra muscle and done flexibility exercises, but the back issues have persisted.

"I don't look back," Helton said. "What's happened happened, for better or worse. This is where I'm at. I'll try to get better from there."

After the surgery, Helton will be limited to walking for a brief period, then he'll begin Watkins' rehab program. The arthroscopic procedure, called a microdiskectomy, is designed to trim the disk to alleviate nerve pressure. Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson and Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal have had it done successfully.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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