And you thought the Houston Rockets were fucked. Under normal circumstances, the Mets falling a game below .500 with last night’s 10-6 drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers would be a grim enough story for a Tuesday morning. Sadly, the Amazins’ luckless 2009 campaign might take a turn for the downright tragic if the following report from the New York Post’s Bart Hubbach holds water.

The Mets confirmed yesterday that Beltran was in Vail, Colo., for a second opinion on his ailing right knee, this one from noted orthopedic surgeon Richard Steadman.

The ominous aspect of that for Beltran and the Mets is that Steadman is the inventor of microfracture knee surgery, an operation that — if he opts to have it — could sideline Beltran for the rest of the season, and potentially jeopardize his career.

Steadman, who runs the clinic where Alex Rodriguez’s hip surgery was performed this year, devised microfracture surgery in the 1990s to mimic missing cartilage in the patient’s knee.

The surgery, which involves drilling small holes so that blood and marrow clot to form a cartilage-like buffer between bones, has been done on numerous pro athletes.

As Hubbach points out, the list of those who’ve had this procedure includes some high profile recoveries (Amare Stoudemire, Jason Kidd) and a number of other basketball starlets whose careers are synonymous with frustration and/or early retirement (Allan Houston, Tracy McGrady, Jamal Mashburn). Along with losing two-fifths of their starting rotation and off-season acquisition J.J. Putz, in short succession the Mets have contemplated the possible end of Carlos Delgado’s career, can’t say with any certainty when Jose Reyes will return, and could now be denied their franchise centerfielder for well, forever.  How’s that for breaking up the core, Mike Francesca?

(UPDATE : The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin reports Dr. Steadman “agreed with the team medical staff’s assessment that the center fielder is suffering from a bone bruise….Steadman is expected to recommend Beltran remain inactive slightly longer than Mets doctor David Altchek initially suggested – until after the All-Star break.”)