KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The best-case scenario is that the left ankle that helps to make Jose Reyes dynamic on the base paths is merely sprained, and that the Blue Jays' star will be back in about four weeks.
Then there's the possibility that everybody in the organization is dreading.
"The other scenario could be three months, or if something comes up we're not expecting, it could be more than that," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said late Friday night.
Reyes hurt the ankle in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals when he couldn't decide whether to slide or go in standing up on a stolen base attempt. Reyes decided late to slide into second base, and his left ankle twisted gruesomely beneath him as he slid over the bag.
The speedster screamed out in pain as he rolled around on the infield dirt, and then pulled his blue jersey over his face as trainers from both dugouts rushed onto the field.
"It didn't look good, obviously," Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ said.
Reyes appeared to have composed himself by the time he was driven off the field on a cart. And the four-time All-Star's left ankle was heavily taped when Reyes was pushed out of the clubhouse in a wheelchair after the game, headed for the hospital and an MRI exam.
"Sunny days wouldn't be special if it wasn't for rain," Reyes tweeted later. "Thank you guys for all the love and the prayers. I put everything is God's hands."
Reyes experienced a similar injury during his rookie season in 2003, when he was with the New York Mets. He sustained a Grade 2 sprain of his left ankle while sliding into second base in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies and landed on the 15-day disabled list.
Anthopoulos said that Reyes is certain to end up on the disabled list this time, too, but the full extent of the injury and a timetable for his return won't be known until Saturday.
"You never want to see it, but at the same time, you've been through enough to know it's going to happen over the course of the season," Anthopoulos said. "If it's good news, you're looking at four weeks. The other scenario could be three months."
Anthopoulos said he had already reached out to other general managers in an effort to trade for a replacement, while another possibility is to promote from within the organization.
The Blue Jays are short-handed across the infield with Brett Lawrie already on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, and fellow third baseman Maicer Izturis held out of Friday night's game against Kansas City after fouling a ball off his foot.
Lawrie had two doubles and a walk in an extended spring training game Thursday, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Reyes' injury might "expedite a bit" his return to the team.
"We'll look at that. We don't feel he's too far off anyway," Gibbons said. "You still want to be cautious with him. You don't want him to come back too soon."
Reyes had been one of the few bright spots in the Blue Jays' struggling lineup this season, hitting .412 with a homer and three RBIs. He had also swiped four bases.
"Jose is great. He's a big part of this team. I can't emphasize that enough," Anthopoulos said. "Every team goes through these things. I don't believe we're a team built on one player, no matter how great a player it is. Just continue to move forward. The biggest thing for us is we need to pitch and if we do I think everything else will work itself out.
"Hopefully Jose will be back during the season and we'll be right there."