<player idref=Consider Tuesday a big day for third baseman Miguel Cabrera and, by extension, his Detroit Tigers. That's when Cabrera will be re-examined by doctors to determine the status of his healing facial fracture, reports John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.

The hope is that Cabrera will be cleared to return to game action this week, which would put him on target for a more important date on the calendar: "If we get medical clearance, he'll be in the lineup Opening Day," manager Jim Leyland said on Saturday. "If they want to sit on this another week, that's different."

Cabrera, of course, was struck in the face by a hard ground ball off the bat of Hunter Pence and then escorted off the field adorned in what Gordon Solie would've called "a crimson mask." But Cabrera's sunglasses saved his eye from greater (and perhaps permanent) damage, and he's already been agitating to return to the lineup. In the event that he isn't cleared to return this week, then Brandon Inge will continue filling in for him.

Needless to say, a healthy and productive Cabrera is essential to the Tigers' World Series hopes this season. He and Prince Fielder figure to form the most potent middle-of-the-order combo in all of baseball (they're a good bet to combine for more than 150 extra-base hits), and they'll helm what should be one of the best offenses around.

It's also worth noting that the injury is to Cabrera's "back" eye at the plate, which, it would seem, will mean less of an adjustment for him once he's cleared to return. This scary and gruesome injury notwithstanding, Cabrera, at age 28 and in visibly better shape, is primed for another MVP-caliber season.