Cubs’ Cody Bellinger unlikely to return on this road trip; timeline remains unclear

Bellinger said he has made “big strides” in his injury rehab in the last week.

SHARE Cubs’ Cody Bellinger unlikely to return on this road trip; timeline remains unclear
Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger has been on the injured list for about three weeks.

Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger has been on the injured list for about three weeks.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

SAN DIEGO — When tests first confirmed center fielder Cody Bellinger hadn’t torn anything in his left knee after making a leaping catch against the wall in Houston, he thought he’d be back by now.

But even though the diagnosis was good news, he suffered a bone bruise when he hyperextended his knee on the landing.

‘‘The reality of it is, these bones heal at their own pace,’’ Bellinger said Sunday.

Three weeks after the injury, Bellinger’s return date and a decision about whether he’ll need a rehab assignment before being reinstated from the injured list are still up in the air. But he said this road trip would be ‘‘probably too aggressive’’ of a timeline.

Bellinger has been tracking pitches in the bullpen, taking batting practice and throwing, but he only began running recently.

‘‘The first week and a half was pretty stagnant,’’ Bellinger said. ‘‘This last week, I’ve made pretty big strides.’’

He has yet to test the knee in uncontrolled settings, however, something a rehab assignment would provide.

‘‘Also, a big part is getting up and down nine times,’’ Bellinger said. ‘‘So replicating that the best we can. So we’re in talks [about] that.’’

What will be the deciding factor about a rehab assignment?

‘‘Maybe preference,’’ Bellinger said. ‘‘Still undecided. I don’t even know the answer to that, really.’’

Boxberger update

Reliever Brad Boxberger (strained right forearm) felt good after playing long toss Saturday, the Cubs said. He is scheduled for light work on the mound Monday.

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