Ethier, the projected starter in left field this year, was injured after fouling a ball off his shin Friday during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. X-rays that day revealed no broken bones, but the Dodgers said Tuesday that a follow-up CT scan showed the fracture.
"It's a freak injury," said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "You see plays all the time where guys foul a ball off their leg, and very rarely does it result in this. But it is what it is, and he's motivated to work very hard to get back as soon as he can. Obviously, we were counting on him being a big, big part of our success this year, and we're still counting on him."
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he talked to Ethier, who was "obviously disappointed."
"I just told him to just take a couple, three days with his family and get away and try to clear his head as much as possible," Roberts said.
Asked about his team's options in left field, Roberts said, "We have guys who can play. Obviously [Carl Crawford] is out there, we're going to have [Scott] Van Slyke out there, and we're working Trayce [Thompson] in there a little bit to see how our roster shakes out."
Roberts said that while Thompson's numbers might not have shown it this spring, "he has done a lot of good things."
"This is why we talk about depth a lot in the offseason," Friedman said. "It falls on deaf ears and doesn't really manifest itself until halfway through the season. Unfortunately, we're tapping into it a little sooner. That being said, we're excited about the depth we have on hand for just this situation."
The team said Ethier's injury will not require surgery.
Ethier batted .294 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs in 395 at-bats last season. He also had seven triples and a .366 on-base percentage.
Ethier ranked second on the Dodgers in OPS (.852) in 2015, nine points shy of Justin Turner for best on the team among those with at least 200 plate appearances. He ranked 18th in the National League in on-base percentage, 20th in slugging percentage (.486) and 17th in OPS among players with at least 300 plate appearances.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us," Friedman said. "It's one of those things where we have a lot of talented, motivated players in the clubhouse, and Doc's mindset and spiel to the guys every day is, 'Let's win anyway. It doesn't matter.'
"It gets to the depth that we have and the talent and everyone in that room looking to their right and left and trusting in the collective talent of the group."
ESPN Dodgers reporter Doug Padilla, ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.