Clayton Kershaw's recovery from a back injury hits a troubling roadblock

The Dodgers got some bad news regarding the back injury to Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday.

There's no real way to sugarcoat it: This is awful news for the Dodgers.

Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet. He's 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 145 strikeouts in 121 innings. The Dodgers are 14-2 in games he's started this season compared to 38-40 when he doesn't.

The Dodgers entered Tuesday holding onto the first NL wild-card spot, but only two games up on the first team not in a wild-card slot (they are a game up on the Marlins, who have a one-game lead over the Mets for spot No. 2).

Kershaw hasn't pitched since June 26 and now it sounds like he won't be pitching again for quite a bit. If he didn't feel well during a simulated game on Saturday, one has to envision that he'll wait a little bit before going at it again. Then he'd need to get through the session without any pain and work his way back into game shape. We could be looking at the middle of August, or maybe even later.

The Dodgers also lost Hyun-Jin Ryu (again) to injury on Tuesday.

Thus, the current rotation is Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Bud Norris and rookie Julio Urias. The depth? Pitchers like Brock Stewart, Ross Stripling and Carlos Frias.

Thanks to injuries, a team that looked to have good pitching depth is a bit depleted. Should they trade someone (maybe Yasiel Puig -- as is a rumor) to shore this up? The deadline is less than two weeks again.

What we do know for sure is that Kershaw is out for at least another few weeks, and that hurts the Dodgers in a big way.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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