Clayton Kershaw knows this feeling all too well: Sailing toward a possible fourth Cy Young Award, eyes on a World Series appearance for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then, suddenly, a twinge in his lower back.
That twinge first came in June 2016, when a herniated disc cost him 10 weeks of the season and nearly knocked him out of the playoffs.
Sunday, while warming up for the second inning of his start against the Atlanta Braves, it returned: Pain in his lower back, a trip to the clubhouse, examinations ahead.
And suddenly, this Dodgers season that was headed for a 100-win coronation has sailed into the great unknown.
“Obviously, I’m not optimistic because I got taken out of the game,” Kershaw said after the Dodgers’ 5-4, 10-inning victory. “At the same time, some of the symptoms aren’t as bad as they could be.
“A lot of frustration. I’ve done countless hours of back maintenance and rehab just trying to stay healthy and felt really really good up to this point.”