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07/29/08 7:15 PM ET

Wang has cast removed

Timeline for righty's return remains unknown

NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi laughed when he said he offered to cut pitcher Chien-Ming Wang's cast off.

The right-hander didn't take him up on the offer, but he did have his cast removed on Tuesday afternoon, and Girardi wasn't the only one smiling. Wang broke into a wide grin when asked if he was happy to have the cast off his right leg. He also had an X-ray taken, and he said the results looked good.

The Yankees ace injured his right foot running the bases during an Interleague game in Houston on June 15. He was placed on the disabled list on June 17, retroactive to June 16, with a ligament sprain and a partial tendon tear.

Wang, who now wears a black protective boot and still uses crutches, said he did not have a clear idea of when he would be able to start pitching again, and Girardi said the timeline for Wang's rehabilitation could be similar to the Spring Training process -- about six or seven weeks.

"He just got out of a cast, so, obviously, you've got to think there's somewhat of a weakness there," Girardi said. "You've got to build him up to where you feel like he's strong enough to get off a mound, and that's going to take time."

Wang was examined at New York Presbyterian on Tuesday by Dr. Justin Greisberg and will be reevaluated in one week. Wang hopes to lose the crutches and receive what he described as insoles with air to cushion his foot as he begins to walk again. His rehab will follow shortly.

New York originally hoped that Wang might be able to return as soon as Sept. 1. Girardi said on Tuesday that date may be pushed back, but he will watch Wang's rehab closely and is optimistic the Yankees could have their starter back before the end of the season.

"I still believe there's a good chance we're going to get him back in September," Girardi said. "Whether it's Sept. 1, that might be stretching a little bit. But I still think we're going to get him back."

Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.