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Reds not counting out Griffey's return this season

CINCINNATI -- The Reds expect Ken Griffey Jr. to play again
this season, contrary to reports suggesting his season might be over after the star center fielder strained his right foot
rounding second base.

Griffey has been listed as day to day since Sunday, when he
rolled his foot during the 12th inning of Cincinnati's 8-3 win at
Atlanta. The team said Monday an MRI revealed the strain.

The Dayton Daily News reported in its Wednesday edition Griffey's injury could be more serious than the sprain

A source said Griffey actually pulled part of a tendon off the bone, "Potentially a serious situation, potentially a season-ending injury," the source told the paper.

Trainer Mark Mann said it would be "premature at this point"
to say surgery would be necessary, and "we fully expect him to
play again in the 2005 season." Two years ago, Griffey required
season-ending surgery on his right ankle.

"The MRI showed nothing like what he had a couple of years ago
with his ankle," Mann said. "It's not as if he pulled it off the
bone. It does show inflammation in the area. A strain by definition
does involve inflammation of the tissue, and it can be associated
with a tear."

Griffey, whose Reds are in fifth place in the NL Central, ran in
the tunnel and hit in indoor batting cages during Tuesday's night
game against Milwaukee. When asked when he'd be ready to play, he
said: "As soon as I feel I can do what I need to do."

Griffey is hitting .301 with 35 home runs and 92 RBI in 128
games, the most since he played in 145 games in 2000, his first
season with the Reds. His solo home run on Sunday in Atlanta
was the 536th of his career, tying him with Mickey Mantle for 12th
place on the career list.

Griffey played in a total of 136 games over the previous two
seasons, none after Aug. 16, 2004, when he underwent surgery for a
torn right hamstring.