Kevin Youkilis also has sports hernia

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis did not rejoin the team Saturday after an injection the day before for bursitis in his left hip, and manager Terry Francona acknowledged that Youkilis has an "onset of a sports hernia" that probably will need to be addressed after the season.

Francona said Sunday that Youkilis would be with the team when it resumed play Tuesday at Fenway Park against the Toronto Blue Jays but wasn't sure if he'd be available.

"I didn't see that before, or I should have been alerted," said Francona, who had denied knowledge of the condition on Friday night. "It's kind of a general term, which means he has a weakening of an area we already knew. So, it's not really news.

"I think we're certainly going to have to check him out when the season is over to see what needs to be done, if anything, but for now, he can play as tolerated and I think they believe he can play. If we need to give him a day off, we certainly can do that."

A club source confirmed Saturday that Youkilis has additional pain in his groin area, which would be consistent with the finding of a sports hernia.

Sports hernia symptoms include groin pain along the abdomen where the abdominal muscles connect with the pelvis and leg. Unlike a true hernia, there is no bulging. A sports hernia is a tear or weakness in these muscles.

Last year, Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron tried to play for months with a sports hernia before undergoing surgery in late August for what was ultimately termed a bilateral sports hernia and bilateral groin release.

If the sports hernia wasn't "news," as Francona termed it, did that mean the club has been aware of the condition for some time?

"When I say that," Francona said, "he's been diving, falling. He's been tender in so many areas and I think that's what a sports hernia is. ... This is a term that's used that's kind of gotten a life of its own.

"I'm glad they were diligent enough to look. I think it gives Youk a little piece of mind. But again, I think when the season is over, I think you have an obligation to say, 'OK, where do we go from here?' -- if we go somewhere."

Youkilis just returned Sept. 2 from a 15-day stint on the DL with a lower back strain. He has just five hits in 27 at-bats since his return, and was noticeably limping the past couple of nights, Francona said Friday.

Youkilis got off to a slow start this season, batting just .218 in April, but had lifted his average to as high as .288 on July 16, with his on-base percentage (.410) and slugging percentage (.513) similar to his career norms (.394, .497). But in 32 games since then, Youkilis is batting just .192/.302/.358, and there is little question that his physical ailments have contributed to his slide.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.