Ellis came close to losing his leg

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis was hours away from losing his left leg before undergoing an emergency surgical procedure on Saturday, manager Don Mattingly said he was told by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

"I didn't realize how bad this was,'' Mattingly said. "Doc said last night that in another six or seven hours, he had a chance of losing the leg.''

The surgical procedure, called a fasciotomy, relieved pressure in Ellis' lower leg caused by swelling. That pressure can cause a muscle to actually die if it goes untreated long enough, which was why Ellis was operated on immediately after going to an area hospital on Saturday when he was still experiencing extreme pain and swelling after being taken out of a double play at second base in the seventh inning on Friday night.

Ellis is expected to be sidelined at least six weeks, but it isn't clear at this point whether his knee also sustained damage, as testing on the knee had to be halted because of the swelling and the surgery.

Anyway, here is the Dodgers starting lineup for tonight, when they will attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals and run their winning streak against the Cardinals -- a team they used to seemingly never beat -- to seven games dating to last year:

Tony Gwynn, CF

Elian Herrera, 2B

Bobby Abreu, LF

Andre Ethier, RF

Adam Kennedy, 3B

James Loney, 1B

A.J. Ellis, C

Justin Sellers, SS

Chad Billingsley, RH