Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal announced Wednesday that he will undergo surgery Thursday for a bulging disc in his lower back.
The injury began late in the 2007 season, causing him to miss the Dodgers' last 12 games. It returned a second time early this season, causing Furcal to miss all but 32 games so far in 2008.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins, who will attempt to remove all of the ruptured disc pressing on a nerve in Furcal's lower back. Watkins performed a similar surgery on former Dodger Eric Gagne.
Furcal looked promising at first in his Triple-A rehab, with a hit in his first game for Las Vegas. However, the stint proved short-lived when severe pain in his lower back forced Furcal to cut the rehab short and reevaluate surgery as an option.
As recently as June 26, Furcal reported feeling fine and hoping to return to the majors soon.
Furcal is among a large string of Dodgers on the disabled list, including Nomar Garciaparra, Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, Brad Penny, Scott Proctor, and, most recently, Juan Pierre.
Like many MLB teams, the Dodgers' starting lineup can't seem to stay healthy.
Prior to his injury, Furcal had a batting average of .366, which was good enough to lead the team. He also had five home runs, 12 doubles, and 16 RBI.