Kinsler's return next week 'not realistic'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler's hopes of playing in a game Monday for the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks ago today are "not realistic," Texas Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said.

That determination was made after Kinsler was examined by club orthopedist Dr. Keith Meister, who discovered a small bone bruise at the tip of the tibia in addition to the sprain. Meister will inject Kinsler with an anti-inflammatory later Friday.

After having the injection, Kinsler was realistic.

"I'm not going to say I'll be ready for the opener but I'm not going to say I won't be either," he said. "I'm optimistic that I'll play next week."

Levine said the Rangers are still targeting Opening Day for Kinsler's return but aren't sure whether he'll play in another regular Cactus League game this spring. He could appear in minor league games to get some at-bats, however, while still leaving the Rangers the option of putting him on the disabled list at the start of the season and backdate it to Friday. That way he would miss only the first six days of the season.

Meister also examined reliever Darren O'Day, who has had some elbow soreness. O'Day, who tested the elbow with a light bullpen session this morning, will also get an anti-inflammatory injection and will be "down" for 48 to 72 hours. It's still possible he can recover in time to be a part of the Rangers' bullpen at the beginning of the regular season and he also may see some action in minor league games in the final week of the spring.

Meanwhile, reliever Warner Madrigal, who has had some shoulder soreness, played long toss at 180 feet. His next step will be a bullpen session, but Levine wasn't sure when that would be scheduled.

Jim Reeves, a former columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is a regular contributor to ESPNDallas.com.