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03/21/10 11:00 AM ET

Navarro says he's OK for Opening Day

Rays catcher downplays left shin injury after collision

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Dioner Navarro made his way through the Rays' clubhouse on crutches early Sunday morning, but according to the Rays catcher, everything is OK.

"Got a bad wheel," said Navarro while giving reporters an update on his injured left shin. Then he smiled.

What resembled a car wreck at home plate Saturday didn't turn out nearly as bad as feared. Despite being on crutches, Navarro doesn't expect to be out long and he believes he'll be back behind the plate long before Opening Day.

"Just kind of wait and see how I react to the treatment the next couple of days and see what happens," Navarro said of his plans. "I don't think it's going to impact my Opening Day [or even] next week. I mean, it's going to be uncomfortable for awhile, but that's part of being a catcher. You have to deal with it. That's the price you've got to pay."

Navarro was carted from the field Saturday after Jacque Jones of the Twins collided with him while trying to score from second base on a fourth-inning single by Brendan Harris.

Navarro held onto the ball after receiving the throw from Gabe Kapler, and Jones was called out. Navarro then fell to the ground holding his left leg as he came to a rest on the grass just past the clay around home plate.

"As soon as he hit me, I knew I was hurt because I saw the shin guard and it was all messed up," Navarro said. "I tried to walk it off and my leg just went numb. I think the adrenalin and everything played a role [in what happened]. Thank god I'm a fast healer."

Assistant athletic trainer Nick Paparesta and Rays manager Joe Maddon rushed to Navarro's side, and they were joined by medical personnel from Charlotte Sports Park.

"I saw my whole season go by in five minutes laying on the ground right there while everybody was talking to me -- Joe, [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield], everybody talking to me," Navarro said. "I saw my whole season passing by in my mind right there."

Eventually, Navarro was loaded onto the cart and driven from the field accompanied by Porterfield.

"I think that's mostly what it was, a scare," Navarro said. "I kind of panicked a little bit. At the same time there was no fracture, no breaking, no ligaments. Just a nerve caused my leg to go numb. I felt like I was helpless. I was trying to do everything I could. I just could not move my leg. That's why I panicked."

Navarro left Charlotte Sports Park to have X-rays taken and the results showed no fractures or breaks.

"As soon as I knew nothing was broken, I knew everything was all right," Navarro said.

Navarro decoyed Jones on the play by looking out toward the outfield like a throw was not forthcoming, a ploy Navarro said he'll continue to use despite the inherit risks.

"I'm just working on my play," Navarro said. "He slid hard; it was a good, hard baseball play. Unfortunately I came out of it with the worst of it.

"That won't stop me. That's not going to stop anybody's game. They're going to try and slide hard and knock the ball out of my glove, and I'm going to try and block the plate. That's the bottom line. That's my plate. They can get my leg, but not my plate."

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