Ryan Howard needs surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee and will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.

For Howard, the pain became too much.

The Philadelphia Phillies put their slugging first baseman on the 15-day disabled list Saturday because of inflammation in his left knee - today they announced he needs surgery to fix his knee and will miss 6-8 weeks.

"It was just really hard to move, really felt stiff," Howard said Sunday after Philadelphia's 7-3 win over Atlanta. "I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. It was more sore than it would normally be."

The timeline places his return in late August or early September and the Phillies figure to be on the conservative side given how much money they have invested in him.

"It's tough because I definitely want to be out there. But at the same time I want to be smart about it," he said.

The three-time All-Star is hitting .266 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs. He said he continued to play through the pain because he thought he could perform.

"I felt I still could go out and play and try to give it a go," he said.

Darin Ruf figures to get most of the playing time with Howard out with John Mayberry, Jr. an option as well.  The move could be a blessing in disguise for the Phillies, with Howard struggling to hit for power, Ruf's right-handed bat could be just what the Phillies line-up needed.