A day after saying Clayton Kershaw's return to the Dodgers was "uncertain," manager Dave Roberts painted a grimmer picture.
The first-year skipper isn't ruling out back surgery for the Dodgers' ace.
"With the way it flared up, it's more of an indication that surgery is more of a possibility obviously with the way his back responded," Roberts said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. "But we're still hopeful that he's going to be back. When you're talking about the back, (surgery is) always an option."
Kershaw went on the disabled list on June 27 with a minor disk herniation in his lower back.
Kershaw threw a four-inning simulated game on Saturday, but "didn't feel great" on Sunday, according to Roberts.
Roberts announced Tuesday that the team had shut down Kershaw until the pain goes away.
Surgery on his back could mean the end of Kershaw's 2016 season, though Roberts said the Dodgers are "hopeful" that the MLB ERA leader will return this season.
"He's disappointed because he knows he can help us. But his focus is on getting back this year," Roberts said Wednesday.
After Kershaw's last game on June 26, the Dodgers were eight games behind the Giants in the NL West. Entering play on Wednesday, the Dodgers stand just 4.5 games behind the Giants.