ARLINGTON -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has a good method of gauging how bad his sports hernia is. He wakes up. "I woke up [Tuesday] and it felt much better," Kinsler said as the Rangers played the Tigers. "I could actually sit up rather than roll over and fall out of bed on my face." After a relatively pain-free morning, Kinsler learned he won't immediately need surgery on his sports hernia and might be able to avoid it entirely. So, there's hope for Texas that he'll return when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list or soon thereafter.
Earlier Tuesday, Kinsler visited Dr. John Preskitt at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Preskitt didn't detect any tear in Kinsler's abdominal wall and wanted to give him a couple weeks to see how the injury heals. "Finally, some good news," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not 100 percent that he'll be back, but it's not 100 percent that he'll miss the rest of the season. We've got that window to work with, and that's good news." Instead of a tear, Preskitt thought the injury was just a strain. Even though a tear didn't occur, Kinsler's injury is still classified as a sports hernia. There are three different severity levels to a sports hernia, and Kinsler's is believed to be the least traumatic. Like his manager, Kinsler couldn't have been much happier to know surgery was less likely than originally thought. "Surgery definitely isn't on my life checklist, so hopefully I can put off going under the knife," Kinsler said. But Kinsler isn't out of the woods just yet. He could begin riding an exercise bike in a matter of days and run on an elliptical machine by the end of the week. How Kinsler feels after each test of his sports hernia will dictate how hard he can push himself to return. If the injury doesn't improve during his 15-day DL stint, surgery would become more likely. Sport hernia surgery would then cost Kinsler six to eight weeks. That timeframe wouldn't affect his 2009 availability, but it would set back his offseason conditioning. For now, though, Kinsler will continue his daily routine of monitoring the injury and hoping for the best. "Hopefully, I wake up the next day and it feels good, and I wake up the day after that and it feels even better," Kinsler said.
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.