A team of four physicians headed by Dr. John A. Steubs are awaiting first baseman Justin Morneau's return flight to Minneapolis-St Paul, where the injured slugger's progress will continue to be monitored through the week to determine when he can retake the field.
Potentially inconclusive medical tests at Memorial Hospital in Miami so far point to Morneau's lung contusion as being minor -- at least in relative terms. However, doctors will take no chances with the budding slugger, who may be vulnerable to pulmonory complications as a result of his violent homeplate collision with Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo last week.
The doctors' charge has been complicated by Morneau's stubbornly positive attitude, which perhaps could be characterized as too much of a good thing. The scrappy former hockey player would want to play even if he had an arrow through his head, so doctors must do his thinking for him.
Though various examinations indicated unmistakable symptoms of a lung contusion -- including internal bleeding -- computerized tomographical scans indicated no severe trauma. Whether the findings tell the whole story likely will become clear in three or four days.
If Morneau is healthy he can be expected to return to action by the weekend. But if his condition is serious enough to warrant a trip to the disabled list, he will likely miss the better part of month or perhaps more, according to sources familiar with the nature of his injury.