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Did Brad Lidge Really Injure His Knee In The 2008 World Series Celebration?

World Series: Tampa Bay Rays v Philadelphia Phillies, Game 5
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By Marc Farzetta

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Remember October 29th, 2008? After a two-day postponement, the Phillies found themselves playing Game 5 of the World Series, Part 2. Brad Lidge was on the hill looking for his 48th save in 48 chances that year and also a ring.

With the count 0-2 to Eric Hinske, Lidge threw his devastating slider. Hinske, just like everyone that year that saw it, swung over the slider and the Phils were World Champions.

Lidge throws his arms in the air and falls to his knees. Chooch charges Lidge and hugs him. Ryan Howard comes in as the first non-battery mate in and tackles Lidge and Chooch to the ground better than any member of the Eagles defense could this season. The whole roster followed including Shane Victorino who pulled a real ‘Flying Hawaiian’ when he ran in from center field to do a belly-flop on the pile of Phillies. At the bottom of this mess, Brad Lidge.

Controversy followed this incredible moment and the “Celebration Theory” was born. The following season, the closer’s deterioration process began as he underwent multiple knee surgeries and never returned to his 2008 form. Sure, no one expected him to be perfect again, but he was far from it.

In the coming year, Lidge took a series of cortisone shots. Went under the knife for surgeries and had multiple stints on the disabled list for a combination of elbow and knee problems. When asked in 2009 if any of his physical ailments could be attributed to that pile-on after the World Series, Lidge said, “that’s definitely not what caused [the knee injury in 2009].”

Lidge retired last week, and was a guest on 94WIP with Rob Ellis on Wednesday night. “Did I do anything ‘damage wise’ to [my knee] at that time?,” Lidge said, repeating the question Ellis asked him. “I don’t think so, but for whatever reason the next year, right towards the beginning of the season 2009 my meniscus went and it was one of those deals were it was not quite bad enough to keep me off the field but it of course it effected how I pitched.”

The way he answered the question was less certain than he had been previously. You can decide for yourself by listening to the podcast of the interview. (The question is posed at 11:56 of the interview).

LISTEN: Rob Ellis interviews Brad Lidge

Early in spring training of 2009, Lidge limped off the field after “catching a spike in the mound” during his first pitch of batting practice. Seems odd.

Lidge went from a 1.95 ERA in 72 games in 2008 to a 7.21 ERA in 67 games in 2009. He also saw his work load drop steadily in his next 3 years with the Phillies, going from 69.1 IP in 2008 to 58.2 IP in 2009, to 45.2 IP in 2010 and finally just 19.1 IP in 2011.

Is the “Celebration Theory” the lone reason Brad Lidge’s career went downhill? Probably not. But it seems that it can now be looked at as one of the reasons.

WATCH: Video of the celebration

Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcFarzetta

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