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Furcal getting second opinion on elbow this week

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JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals scheduled a Monday consultation between head team physician Dr. George Paletta and shortstop Rafael Furcal, who has been shut down indefinitely due to pain in his right elbow.

An MRI taken on Friday revealed that Furcal is dealing with inflammation around his ulnar collateral ligament, which sustained a Grade 2 tear last August. Paletta will advise Furcal and the Cardinals on how to proceed now that the shortstop has had a setback in his recovery from that injury.

"I want to be in there, but I can't do it right now," Furcal said on Monday morning, before his visit with Dr. Paletta. "I don't know. I know I'm feeling bad. I cannot throw a ball. I cannot swing a bat."

Furcal will seek an additional opinion on Wednesday from Dr. James Andrews before committing to a rehab path. He is hopeful that he can avoid surgery, which doesn't seem like it will be a recommendation, given that there is no evidence of another tear in the ligament.

Though Furcal has been limited since arriving in Spring Training, it was his attempt to push his elbow harder on Thursday that appears to have backfired. He has not engaged in baseball activities since. It seems highly unlikely that Furcal will be ready to play by Opening Day, though he did not want to estimate how long he might be out.

"You never know," Furcal said. "I wish I was ready to play right now in Spring Training. In my mind, I want to play, but they say I have to take a rest. We have to wait to see what the doctor is going to say."

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