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Updated: August 13th, 2010 5:17pm
Notebook: Morneau says he has yet to get through a day symptom-free

Notebook: Morneau says he has yet to get through a day symptom-free

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been sidelined since July 7 with a concussion, and his timetable for return is more questionable now than ever before.

Morneau, who continues his daily workouts at Target Field, said Friday that he is still making slow progress but has yet to get through a day symptom-free.

"That's kind of why we haven't gone anywhere, why we're still here," Morneau said.

"It's shown improvement. At first it was wake up in the morning, feel good for about 10 minutes, and then the rest of the day not feel great. It's gone to wake up in the morning, get here, feel good, we start doing stuff, feel good, then get home and symptoms come back."

The Twins originally had intentions of sending Morneau to Chicago earlier this week to take batting practice before then heading on a possible rehab assignment. Of course, those plans were never set in stone, and they revolved entirely around Morneau's progress.

Now, however, the Twins plan to back off on setting any timetables.

"The one thing we want to make sure is that we cover all the bases and do all the right things with this young man," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "One of the things the doctors have been saying is a concussion you can deal with if you can get through it, but a concussion on top of a concussion is a really bad thing.

"The general manager talked to me about backing him off, and that's what we're going to do -- let him take it nice and easy here with no schedule, no timeframe. Come to the ballpark, do what he feels comfortable with and slowly progress, and not try to rush anything. Putting him in a situation where he could jeopardize his season, his career, his livelihood, we're not going to do that. It's just not going to happen. So we're going to let him get well, and that's the right thing to do."

Morneau's current workout program involves hitting, fielding, throwing, and some light running, but the running has been his biggest hurdle to this point.

"Obviously speed isn't part of my game," Morneau said, "but you want to be able to play the way you're capable of. We're still not able to do that to full speed yet."

In order to go on rehab assignment, Morneau said he likely has to get through a few days in a row with no symptoms, and at this point all parties involved continue to stress caution.

"Obviously you can't start pushing it too hard," Morneau said. "You feel good one day and think you're going to be able to do everything you want to do the next day. It has to be a slow progression like we've done, and hopefully that day's coming soon. I'm optimistic, just with how it's gone each day from where we started. Obviously it's taken longer than I thought or than I would like, but I think they've handled it well and they want to make sure I'm ready to go when it's time to go back out there... We've seen the people we needed to see, we've got all the resources we need, and I think we're handling it the right way."

With a rehab stint nowhere on the immediate horizon as we head into the middle of August -- and that could change quickly, as Morneau pointed out, due to the unpredictability of concussions -- it isn't out of the question to suggest that this injury could jeopardize Morneau's season.

"I hope not, but I have no idea," Morneau said. "When it happened, I thought two days after I'd be feeling alright. The thing about it, it's unpredictable. Coming in tomorrow, everything could be feeling good, could make it through the whole day. It could be next week, it could be two weeks, you never know. It's unpredictable.

"That's the part that's most frustrating. You know, you hurt your knee, your MCL, it's four-to-six weeks. OK, you do a ceratin tyupe of rehab, if everything goes good you can make it back in four weeks, and you kind of have that timetable. With this, it's different with every single person that goes through it."

NOTES

* LHP Jose Mijares, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus. His timetable for a return is likely somewhere around four weeks, according to Gardenhire.

* INF Nick Punto (hamstring) has been running bases and will likely be activated from the disabled list sometime before Sunday.

* RHP Jon Rauch (toe) threw a bullpen session on Friday and should be available to pitch this weekend.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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