Kinsler was placed on the DL retroactive to Saturday with a right intercostal strain. The All-Star second baseman, batting .302 with seven home runs this season, tried to swing the bat in the cage on Sunday and felt discomfort.
The 20-year-old Profar, ranked as the No. 1 prospect before the season by ESPN.com's Keith Law, is playing his best baseball of the season.
Profar didn't make an appearance in Texas' 11-8 win over the Detroit Tigers on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball." Rangers manager Ron Washington said Profar will split time with utility man Leury Garcia, who started at second against the Tigers.
Profar was called up and played in nine games last September, homering in his first major league at-bat. He finished with only three hits in 17 at-bats in limited playing time as Washington went with his regulars during the Rangers' fight for the AL West title, which they eventually lost to the Oakland Athletics.
"Profar's not afraid of the game," Washington said. "He'll get a chance to play. He's gotten better as the year has progressed."
Profar has been on a tear at Triple-A Round Rock, hitting two home runs on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to eight games. It was the first multi-home run game of his career for Profar, who has four home runs this season.
Profar had 14 hits in his last 33 minor-league at-bats with six runs, two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs during his hitting streak. His batting average is up to .278 after being in the .220s earlier in the season.
"My swing was there the whole time," Profar said when asked why he's had recent success. "I've been seeing a lot of off-speed pitches."
The Rangers want Profar to play every day, wherever he is. So it's likely that when Kinsler comes off the disabled list, Profar will go back to Triple-A, unless he continues his tear and the Rangers have to find a place for him.
Washington said Kinsler's injury could be of the five- or six-day variety. The Rangers have proceeded with caution on injuries to catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Alexi Ogando, both currently on the disabled list but expected back when eligible.
"You don't want it to get worse," Washington said of Kinsler's injury. "Along with him, we decided to put him on the DL. We just want to make certain."
Kinsler, one of the Rangers' most productive offensive players, has 11 doubles and 20 RBIs and is batting .353 with runners in scoring position.
Kinsler hasn't started the last two games, but he did pinch run Friday against the Tigers. Kinsler had been hit in the rib area by a throw and pitch twice last week, the latter on a curve ball by Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Kinsler tried to twist out of the way of the Verlander pitch, which is where the injury may have occurred.
Kinsler didn't talk before Sunday's game.