(Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp expressed relief on Wednesday and said he was “lucky” to avoid serious injury after slamming into the center-field wall in Colorado the previous day while trying to track down a fly ball.
Kemp, who needed three stitches for a cut on his chin, was listed as day-to-day after tests revealed that he suffered only a sore jaw and a bone bruise to his left knee during an 8-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.
“Now I know how a football player feels when a wide receiver gets hit and he doesn’t know what hit him,” twice All-Star Kemp, 27, told the team’s website. “It could have been worse. I‘m definitely lucky.”
Kemp crashed face-first into the center-field fence at Coors Field while chasing what turned into a triple by Josh Rutledge in the bottom of the first inning.
After taking several minutes to regroup, he was allowed to continue but soon after he was forced to leave the game after diving hard for a blooper single.
“It was more than scary. I thought I died. Nah, but it was weird,” said Kemp. “I thought I broke my jaw. I couldn’t bite down on my left side. My knee is sore, but it’s the meaty part near the quad.”
Kemp said he hoped to be back with the Dodgers on Thursday, though manager Don Mattingly expected the slugger to experience aches and pains for several more days.
With Wednesday’s tests showing no serious injury, Mattingly said he would rely on Kemp to decide when he could play.
“He’s got to be honest,” said Mattingly. “It doesn’t do us any good if he can’t do anything.”
Kemp, who has missed 51 games this year because of a left hamstring issue, is hitting .337 with 17 home runs and 54 runs batted in this season.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue