Balfour already back rehabbing after knee surgery

PHOENIX -- Grant Balfour is already ahead of schedule.

Nevermind that the A's closer is less than 24 hours removed from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The right-hander spent all of Friday morning rehabbing, outside of a quick break to meet with the media for 10 minutes -- without the help of crutches.

Typically patients recovering from this type of surgery need about four or five days before they can fully bend their knee. Balfour can already do that.

"I'm good, I feel great," he said. "It couldn't have gone any better. I'm happy that it's done and that it's fixed and that I'm on the mend. I'm just looking forward to getting back as quick as possible now. I hope to put in the time and be out there for Game 1. That's the plan. I'm not looking at it in any other way."

Balfour hasn't had any swelling, and hopes he can avoid it by not pushing it too hard in the early stages of rehab. He said he doesn't want to predict a specific return date, but did mention that he thinks he can be ready on the early side of the expected 4-6 week recovery plan.

Those around him wouldn't be surprised if that's the case.

"He walked in like he never had surgery," manager Bob Melvin said. "I know he's got a smile on his face because the surgery went well and he's walking around, so hopefully we're looking at the shorter end of the spectrum than the longer end."

Balfour wasn't scheduled to appear in a Cactus League game for another two and a half weeks, so he shouldn't be too far behind other pitchers should his rehab continue to move along seamlessly. In the meantime, he said he'll find a way to keep throwing so as not to lose arm strength.

"I'm not too pretty to watch in Spring Training, anyway," said a smiling Balfour, whose spring numbers are traditionally ugly.

The veteran reliever had no prior knee injuries, and even this one is minor, considering he said he could pitch right now. It's the running and the sharp lateral movements that had been giving him difficulty.

"Luckily for me it was just a little cleanup," he said.