Matt Kemp's injured ankle has prevented him from taking part in full baseball activities up to this point. The Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder has been able to jog in a straight line, shag fly balls, and take batting practice, but he has not been able to make hard turns - like a player would when rounding the bases. Fortunately, he is now starting to jog with slight turns.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com says Kemp still hasn't started doing starts and stops on the ankle, he hasn't run the bases, and he hasn't done sharp cuts. In other words, he's got a long way to go. The good news, of course, is that Kemp has not suffered any setbacks. While the recovery might be a slow one, Kemp and the Dodgers would be in worse shape if he came back too soon and re-injured himself. That is why the team does not think he will return until after rosters expand on September 1st.
"We thought he'd have a chance before September, but Matt's still not playing," said Mattingly. "He's still not there as time marches on. We don't feel he's moving backward. He's just moving forward slowly."
Kemp is an important part of the Dodgers offense, but only when healthy. When playing hurt, Kemp can be more of a hindrance than anything. The Dodgers are playing well right now despite not having him in the lineup, so there is no real reason to rush him back. However, if Kemp can come back at 100 percent, the Dodgers may get even better leading right into the playoffs.
Last year, Kemp suffered through injuries but was still able to play in 106 games. Kemp will be lucky to get 80 games in this season. The injury bug was worse this year for him not just in games-played, but in performance as well. Last year, Kemp hit .303/.367/.538. This year, he never really had a chance to get going and is hitting .263/.319/.382.
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