LOS ANGELES – Three days after going on the DL with a back injury for the second consecutive season, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said it was a “big relief” when an examination showed it wasn’t the same herniated disc that sent him to the sidelines for 75 days last season.
But this injury (a lower back strain) will sideline Kershaw for an undetermined length of time. He vehemently denied that any timetable has been placed on his return.
“There’s no timetable. Whoever said that is very much mistaken. False source,” he said, referring to reports (tacitly endorsed by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Monday) that pegged his recovery time at four to six weeks. “People just tend to run with stuff these days. No timetable. Could be sooner. We’ll see how it goes.”
Kershaw insisted there were no warning signs or issues with his back before the second inning of Sunday’s start. Regardless, he said “it’s miserable” being injured and unable to pitch “even more so this year with all I’ve done to maintain it.”
The fact that he has had none of the more severe symptoms that accompanied last year’s disc issue does give Kershaw – and the Dodgers – reason for optimism that he can “get back quick.”
“It’s definitely not as painful this year,” he said. “Every-day life isn’t really affected right now, which is good. Last year, I couldn’t sit, couldn’t really bend in anyway. This one is not nearly like that, so I’m just trying to play that balance of wanting to do a lot but making sure I don’t make it worse before it heals. That’s where we’re at.”
Kershaw is taking medication and doing physical therapy at this point with, again, no target date to begin baseball activities. Roberts said Kershaw has to be symptom-free before any of that can begin. Because this year’s back injury occurred a month later than last season, Kershaw could sit out the disputed four to six weeks and return in a similar time frame as last year…