The Dodgers have shut down Clayton Kershaw indefinitely, and they could be in deep trouble

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have shut down ace Clayton Kershaw indefinitely after a simulated start over the weekend resulted in more back pain for the Cy Young winner.

Kershaw has not pitched since late June, when a mild herniated disc sent him to the disabled list. He downplayed the injury at the time, but on Saturday after a simulated start he reportedly felt even more pain. The timetable for his return is now unclear.

“Clayton, after he threw that live session, the next day Sunday didn’t feel great,” manager Dave Roberts told the media on Tuesday. “I think that at that point and time he let us know that we had to be a little more on the cautious side.”

Roberts added: “I don’t know if it’s a step back, but we’re going to let the back pain subside and see where we go. So as far as his return … uncertain.”

Losing a Cy Young winner indefinitely is always terrible news, especially when you’re in the middle of a playoff race. Although they’ve managed to go 11-6 during Kershaw’s absence, the Dodgers remain 4.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West, and are clinging to a one-game wild card lead as the red-hot Marlins surge in their rearview.

What’s more, their pitching staff is depleted. As ESPN notes:

Brett Anderson (back) has been out since spring training and Alex Wood(elbow) has been out for most of the season. Before the All-Star break, Hyun-Jin Ryu returned from shoulder surgery for his first start since 2014, but he returned to the disabled list Tuesday with elbow tendinitis.

The MLB trade deadline is August 1st, and if things don’t look up, the Dodgers could be in the market for a starter. In the meantime, they’ll be wishing Kershaw a speedy recovery.