ST. LOUIS -- Nomar Garciaparra now knows what's wrong. He knows it's serious. The next decision is what to do about it.
Garciaparra suffered what is technically called a left groin avulsion of the adductor longus muscle. In layman's terms, it's a torn groin muscle, and it's bad. He was hurt Wednesday night trying to run to first base in the third inning. He took two steps out of the batter's box and fell to the ground in pain.
Garciaparra underwent an MRI scan Thursday at Barnes Jewish Hospital, and was visibly hobbling in the clubhouse. It hurt to watch him walk.
"It can't be any more painful than it was yesterday," he said. "I have an avulsion of the tendon. Basically, I ruptured the tendon off the bone. There's a few tendons that go along your groin area. There's three major muscles and one of the muscles tore away from the bone. That's what the MRI showed."
Garciaparra and the Chicago Cubs refused to put a timetable on how long the shortstop will be sidelined until they decide what course of treatment to take. He was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list, but will likely be out a minimum of two to three months. Can he recover in time to play this season?
"Maybe. It's realistic," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "They're talking two, three months. Who knows how quickly it heals? There's still time for him to be a hero down the stretch. That's what I'm anticipating. May, June, July, yeah, it's realistic to think that. Especially if they choose the correct procedure to give him the best chance."
Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said the medical staff was discussing the various options. If Garciaparra is to undergo surgery, a decision must be made within the next seven to 10 days.
"I didn't ask about the season," Garciaparra said. "We didn't talk about it. First step is knowing what it is. Second step is what do we do? Then we can say, how do we see how the rehab is going to go, and go from there."
"Right now we're looking at what our options are," O'Neal said. "The surgery will be determined by if it's something Nomar wants to do. There are some you try to scar down on their own and let it heal on its own and rehab through it, and some you can go in and re-attach the piece of the tendon back to the bone. Right now, we're trying to make the determination."
Garciaparra missed the first 57 games of the 2004 season with Boston because of an Achilles injury. He was healthy this year with the Cubs, although his batting average was hurting at .157.
"If you don't do the surgery, and four to six weeks from now you still have problems, then it's what do you do now?" O'Neal said. "With the surgery, it's something you want to do within a relative quick time because it retracts like a rubber band. You want to make a decision now."
Asked if Garciaparra was done for the season, O'Neal said he wanted to wait until they decide the course of action.
Nomar Garciaparra / SS
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"We really don't know," O'Neal said. "I would not think so, but again, we want to look into it and see where we're at."
"It's a very unfortunate injury and I feel terrible for him," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "It seems like the harder he tries, the more things go wrong for him."
Garciaparra knew the injury was serious when it happened.
"I've had groin pulls," he said. "You can strain the muscle, you can strain something. I didn't know what I did, I knew it didn't feel the same as the other strains -- I didn't know to what degree or what extent. Right now, we haven't decided what the treatment is or what we're going to do. We don't even know what the timetable is."
It's a frustrating injury for Garciaparra, who signed a one-year, $8.25 million contract with the Cubs this year and was eager to return to form after an injury-filled 2004 season.
"It's kind of crazy, huh?" he said. "The good thing is I can still smile, and I've still got that going for me. It's frustrating. I don't know what to say. I'm at a loss for words. I know what I dealt with last year and that was frustrating, and I worked hard to come back.
"Everybody looks for a timetable," he said. "That's hard to say. You have knee surgery, and they say it'll be three weeks. But everybody is different. Every injury is different. I've had stuff where I come back real quick. The Achilles didn't heal as fast as I expected it. I'd love to know [how long], but right now I don't, not until we know what the next step is."
Infielder Ronny Cedeno was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to fill the roster spot. Cedeno, who will be looking to make his Major League debut, has batted .348 with three homers and six RBIs in 13 games for Iowa this season.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.