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Harvey 'optimistic' but awaits second opinion Monday

NEW YORK -- Still in "waiting and seeing" mode, Matt Harvey is scheduled to receive a second opinion on his right elbow Monday from renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Though Harvey does not plan to decide that day whether he will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Andrews' opinion will weigh heavily on his decision.

At an FDNY firehouse visit Tuesday morning, Harvey maintained optimism that he can avoid surgery, which would sideline him for all of the 2014 season.

"Everything feels fine," Harvey said. "My arm feels great, and I'm still optimistic about everything. But I'm not a doctor, so we'll see what happens."

Since Mets doctors diagnosed him with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament late last month, Harvey has done little besides icing the joint and riding a stationary bike. He has also conferred with others regarding his decision, including Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay and agent Scott Boras.

Though Harvey has been saying from the start that he hopes to avoid surgery, he acknowledged Tuesday that non-surgical rehab may not be in his best interest.

"It's one of those days where I'm optimistic toward [not] having surgery on something that's not bothering me anymore," Harvey said. "But I'm not a doctor, so I'm going to get as many opinions as I can. And whichever way I decide to go, I'm going to go 150 percent."

"I don't think Matt or the organization wants him to lose any more time than he has to, so we have to be very careful on what Dr. Andrews and Dr. [David] Altchek say," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. "We'll let the two doctors confer, and then we'll have a better idea of which way to go."

Non-surgical rehab would theoretically allow Harvey to return in time for Opening Day 2014, though the threat of future injury would always loom over him. Tommy John surgery, on the other hand, typically requires a 12-month recovery. Recent baseball history is littered with examples of players who attempted non-surgical rehab of similar injuries, only to undergo Tommy John surgery in the end.

"I know Matt and the organization don't want to lose two years," Wilpon said. "If it's got to be a year and that's what it ends up being, then we're prepared for that and we'll deal with it. I don't think anyone wants it to be longer than that."

Harvey spent Tuesday morning at Midtown's Engine 54, Ladder 4 firehouse alongside Wilpon, third baseman David Wright and pitcher Zack Wheeler, as part of the Mets' annual string of 9/11 memorial events. The visit marked Wright's ninth straight to a firehouse on or around Sept. 11.

"You still to this day remember exactly where you were when this incident happened," Harvey said from the floor of the firehouse, which lost all 16 of its members in 2001. "It was such a tragic event, but so many great things have come from it through everybody's support, and especially the firefighters. They did so much. They still do so much. Anything we can give back to them to show them appreciation for all we do, it means the world to all of us."

"These men give their lives to protect us," Wilpon said. "The least we can do is come here, shake some hands and have lunch with them."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo.
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