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Willingham out for at least another month

Marlins left fielder Josh Willingham is expected to be out for at least another month, and possibly longer.

Willingham flew to Los Angeles Sunday and was examined by Dr. Robert G. Watkins, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon who specialize in back problems.

"He's the Dr. James Andrews of backs,'' said Willingham, who had an MRI Monday.

"He told me it was a herniated disc, which is the same problem I have had (since last year),'' Willingham said. "But I felt better seeing him. He has a core program of measuring strength, and I am at Level 1. I won't resume baseball activity until I reach Level 5 of his core program.

"He didn't put a timetable on it, but he said three weeks before resumiing any baseball activity. It could be before then,'' Willingham said.

Willingham, who missed the last week of the season last year with soreness in his back and has had problems with the back in the past, said Watkins "did not rule out surgery,'' but added that option would be a last resort.

If it takes three weeks before Willingham does any baseball activity, it will be more than a month before anyone could realistically expect him to be back in the lineup.

Willingham has been on the disabled list with a sprained back since May 2.