PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With the aid of an ultrasound screen, David Wright could see exactly where the cortisone shot was delivered Monday in an effort to help what he said is a small tear in the upper left side of the rectus abdominis muscle.
Wright's return date, however, is not quite as precise.
Although Wright does not believe Opening Day is in jeopardy -- "I don't feel like it is, no," he said Wednesday morning -- the revelation that he has suffered a "small tear" or strain of the most prominent abdominal muscle likely means he'll need more time to recover than previously thought. Wright received the cortisone shot at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman had a similar injury during spring training last year, required surgery and missed nearly two months. Wright is not that concerned at this stage, but he hasn't played in a game since the discomfort -- first described as in the "rib cage area" -- surfaced 10 days ago. Wright tried to minimize it by suggesting he could play through it during the regular season.
"I'd like to think I wouldn't have missed any time," Wright said, "because it wasn't so much a sharp pain, it was just more of an uncomfortable cramp. I take a lot of pride in trying to go out there and play when I feel like I could play. This would have been one of the times where I would hope I could have gone out there and played through it, but it doesn't make any sense doing that now."
Wright continued, "As much as I'd like to be out there, I also have to realize it's the first couple weeks in spring training, and that for once in my career, you've got to be smart about something -- maybe miss a few games here to make sure that I'm ready for the season."
Wright had to wait 48 hours for the cortisone shot to take effect, a period that ended late Wednesday afternoon. Beyond that, Wright will build up his rehab slowly, from light conditioning to hitting off a tee to eventually batting practice.
"Whenever you strain a muscle, essentially there's some tearing, so it sounds a lot worse than it is," Wright said. "But it's just one of those things where obviously you need your core every day, so it's better to be safe than sorry. I think that I'm past the difficult parts. Now it's just a matter of getting back in the swing of things and making sure that I can get back on the field as soon as my body will allow me."
With no definite timetable, it's likely that Wright will be sidelined from games for at least another week, leaving him only two weeks to get prepared for Opening Day on April 5 at Citi Field. Is that enough time?
"It's a good question because I've never done it," Wright said. "I've always kind of played pretty much all of spring training. But I'm not worried about that. I think that as long as I get a decent amount of time, I feel like I'll be ready. But I'm not at that point now where I feel panicked or rushed, I still feel comfortable with the amount of time that we have left."
In light of Terry Collins' emotional reaction to injuries on Tuesday, Wright was asked if he could understand his manager's agitation about trying to get prepared in a fundamental sense. Ruben Tejada was scratched from Tuesday's game because of a groin strain and the Mets must keep a cautious eye on Ike Davis, who likely has Valley Fever. Andres Torres (gluteus muscle) and Lucas Duda (back) have had minor issues. Tim Byrdak had knee surgery on Tuesday.
"I think that it's more important to make sure that we have the bodies ready for Opening Day than it is to necessarily work on those fundamentals," Wright said. "I think everybody's frustrated. I'm frustrated. The guys that have had to miss some time are frustrated. Obviously Terry's frustrated because he wants his guys out there."