The 42-year-old Glavine still hopes to return next year -- unless he needs elbow ligament replacement surgery.
A 300-game winner, Glavine said Saturday he will be examined by Dr. James Andrews next week in Alabama. Glavine, placed on the disabled list Friday with a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow, plans to have surgery to repair the tendon.
He said he'd give up his comeback hopes for 2009 if Andrews determines the pitcher needs the ligament replacement procedure, known as Tommy John surgery. Rehabilitation after that procedure often takes at least a year.
A two-time NL Cy Young Award winner with Atlanta, Glavine gave up seven runs in four innings against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in his first start since June 10. He is 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 games this season, and 305-203 in his career.
Glavine said his elbow began to stiffen in the fourth inning against the Cubs.
"I know it's not going to get any better," he said. "Clearly it's not going to hold up under the stress of me going out there every five days and throwing a lot of pitches."
Glavine said Braves doctors think the damage in his elbow is limited to the tendon. If Andrews confirms Glavine does not need ligament replacement surgery, the pitcher said he could have the tendon surgery immediately and recover in time for a normal offseason program.
"By no means do I want to go through another year with what I'm going through now," he said. "But at the same time, I don't think I want my career to end this way, either. I think that lends me to think I want to pitch next year. I think it's easier to walk away if you can honestly tell yourself, you know what, I can't do it anymore. And I don't know that I can answer that question right now because my body hasn't allowed me to do it this year as much I wanted to."
Though his overall numbers are disappointing, Glavine said: "When I was healthy, I pitched well. When I wasn't, I didn't. That makes it harder to say I can't do it anymore."
He said he would have the tendon repaired even if he retires so he could play baseball and hockey with his children.
Glavine turned down a $13 million option with the Mets to sign an $8 million deal with the Braves for 2008. He kept his offseason home in Atlanta while pitching five years with the Mets.
Glavine pitched for Atlanta from 1987-2002 and won 20 games or more five times. He said he would only pitch for the Braves in 2009, but he doesn't know if he will be offered a contract.
"I can want to all I want," he said. "If they don't want me to come back, it really doesn't matter.
"I don't want to go anywhere else. At this stage in my life, I've done that. I don't want to do it anymore."
Braves general manager Frank Wren talked with Glavine on Saturday but said "it's way too early" to give a commitment for next season.
"We'll see how things play out over the course of the winter for us and for him, and his prognosis if he does have to have surgery," Wren said. "There's a lot of factors that we just don't have enough answers yet."
Rafael Soriano, who began the season as the closer, is on the disabled list for the third time this year with a sore elbow.