3,000 hits.  Well over .300 batting average.  The rings and the pennants and the October moments.  Derek Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer and no one should doubt that.  But Derek Jeter will never again be that Derek Jeter.

The injured ankle is a lot to come back from, even for Derek Jeter.  Jeter said Opening Day was his return date.  And it wasn't even close to the return date.  And now we wait until at least late July for the return of the Yankee captain.

Derek Jeter will never again be THAT Derek Jeter because his feet are important to his game.  A repaired and once broken ankle doesn't help.  He needs both feet to move laterally and effectively at shortstop.  He needs that left foot to both plant and drive the ball to mostly right field, a swing we have been so accustomed to since 1996.

Jeter also turns 39 in June.  His body isn't what it was.  And no matter what Jeter says, ANY injury is harder to come back from at 39 as opposed to 25.

Jeter was great.  He may surprise us when he returns this year and beyond to finish his amazing Yankee career.  But don't expect to see Jeter be the old Jeter consistently ever again.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankee pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.  

More From 104.5 THE TEAM