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09/13/08 12:23 AM ET

Ankiel done for season, surgery likely

Outfielder diagnosed with a sports hernia on Friday afternoon

PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Rick Ankiel will be shut down for the season and likely will undergo surgery to repair the lower abdominal issue that has bothered him for the past seven weeks.

Ankiel visited a specialist on Friday and was diagnosed with what the Cardinals called "an abdominal strain/athletic pubalgia." He received an injection for the condition on Friday, and according to the club, "it appears likely" that Ankiel will undergo an operation.

Athletic pubalgia, commonly known as a sports hernia, is an injury to the muscles of the lower abdominal wall. General manager John Mozeliak said on Friday that the anticipated recovery time for Ankiel, should he undergo surgery, is approximately five weeks.

The outfielder has said in recent weeks that the injury has not worsened, but it has not improved, either. That lingering difficulty led to the seeking of a second opinion.

"It's no surprise, because he has been a long time with it and has not really improved," said manager Tony La Russa. "He hasn't been pushing it, but he keeps continuing to feel it, so there's something there."

Ankiel sustained the injury in an extra-inning game against the Mets in New York on July 26. He was held out of regular duty for two weeks, used only as a pinch-hitter.

Upon his return to the field, he has played left field, rather than center, and has struggled at the plate. He is 11-for-65 (.169) since being injured.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.