LOS ANGELES -- Injured Dodgers Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones said they felt better Tuesday than they did Monday and were hopeful they could return to the lineup by Friday.
For Furcal, that means his sprained lower back was good enough for strenuous baseball work. The club is cautiously optimistic that he'll be activated from the disabled list Friday.
Jones has a slight cartilage tear in his right knee, and his return is very questionable. His swelling and discomfort improved, probably because he did nothing to irritate it. He's almost certain to need surgery, the only question is when. Jones also has a Baker's cyst behind the knee that would likely be removed when the cartilage is repaired.
Manager Joe Torre sounded somewhat skeptical that Jones would be able to return by Friday.
"I told him just to make sure we know it's all gone before he comes back," said Torre. "Whatever it takes to make him feel better and keep it from recurring."
Jones said the knee has bothered him for "months," but worsened Sunday. For the first time, he conceded that the condition of his right leg is a contributing factor in the slump of a lifetime.
"I just don't make excuses about things, but it really pinched me the last few days," said Jones, who has never been on the disabled list in 12 seasons. "Whether it had anything to do with the start or not, I'm not staying on my back leg and I lock my hip and fly open. It might affect little things."
Torre said he was "sure there is some connection" between the injury and Jones' batting slump, but also suspects Jones has been pressing.
Jones said his goal was, through therapy and a few days of rest, getting through the season and delaying surgery until the offseason.
In other injury news, results were not available on additional tests of Nomar Garciaparra's strained calf. Esteban Loaiza came out of his Monday night rehab start with no problems and will be ready to be activated by the end of the week. Jason Schmidt will have a third rehab start, most likely Sunday or Monday.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.