GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rehabbing Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp will have an MRI exam on his left ankle on Friday that might determine when he can start running.
If surgeon Robert Anderson gives the green light, Kemp will add running to a program that already includes hitting, throwing and fielding ground balls. Even so, time is running out for him to appear in the field in any Cactus League games.
Kemp is attempting to return from a career-threatening injury to the weight-bearing talus bone in his left ankle, a stress reaction and cartilage chip. The repair surgery included a microfracture procedure to produce additional cartilage-like substance for extra protection to the bone.
The tricky part of Kemp's comeback is that if he returns too soon, the bone can be damaged permanently, and there is no way to accurately predict when the bone is fully healed.
That is why his rehab during Spring Training has been overly conservative, and also why the club is not preoccupied with the prospect of having too many outfielders.
Kemp was injured sliding into home July 21 after getting a late break from third base on an infield grounder. It was originally diagnosed as a sprain and the damage to the talus bone showed on an MRI during his rehab.
Kemp will open the season on the disabled list, his sixth visit there since May 2012. Prior to that, Kemp was an iron man, at one stretch playing in 399 consecutive games. He's also returning from his second shoulder operation in as many seasons.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.