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Neck tear to cost Markakis at least another week

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Neck tear to cost Markakis at least another week play video for Neck tear to cost Markakis at least another week

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis has a small disk herniation -- a small tear -- in the area around his neck, and he will be sidelined for at least another week while the injury heals.

"Everything else structurally is fine; some of the things you worry about with it weren't present," said manager Buck Showalter, who didn't think the injury would jeopardize Markakis' ability to be ready for Opening Day, on April 2 against the Rays at St. Petersburg. "So we have positive hopes for it to resolve itself."

Markakis, who underwent an MRI exam in Florida on Monday, flew back to Baltimore on Tuesday to be re-examined by spine specialist Lee Riley. Expected to miss between seven and 14 days, the outfielder has already been sidelined for a week. Showalter said Markakis has been feeling better of late and that the news -- while not positive -- is far from the worst-case scenario.

"You'd rather it be nothing, just a spasm," Showalter said of the C4-C5 herniation. "But when you start talking about [herniated disks], you hope you get that type of prognosis."

The neck issue is the latest in an unfortunate string of injuries for Markakis, who is considered one of the Orioles' toughest players and underwent three surgeries (abdominal, right wrist and left thumb) in 2012. Slated to be the team's starting right fielder, Markakis has played in at least 160 games in three of the last four seasons. He's played in four games this Grapefruit League season, going 3-for-12 with an RBI and two strikeouts. He last appeared on March 1.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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