Manager Joe Torre said he hoped Ethier, who lives in Chandler, Ariz., would be gone "a couple days."
"We knew it was going to happen," Torre said. "You just hope everything's fine, everyone's healthy, everything works."
Ethier is the hottest hitter in the game, averaging .595 since Sept. 1, and he leads the club on the season with a .302 average and 20 homers. He was last week's National League co-Player of the Week.
"If we're going to win," Torre said, "we need people to pick up people."
While Ethier was gone, Takashi Saito was activated. Hong-Chih Kuo threw a light bullpen session and reported his fatigued elbow felt good, but Torre said he would try not to use him another day. Kuo has not pitched since Sunday and received a cortisone injection Thursday.
Rafael Furcal's comeback from back surgery continues to be slowed by a tight hamstring, but the club hasn't given up hope that he'll be playing at some point before this season ends.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.