By Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan

CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Time is running out for players to return and get prepared for the post-season, but for once in a while, the Indians had good news about injuries headed into a game.

Manager Terry Francona announced pre-game Tuesday that the team could get two of their All-Stars back prior to the beginning of their west coast road trip that starts in a week.

After he ‘got after it as much as possible’ in a 30-pitch simulated game on Monday, reliever Andrew Miller’s next outing will be Thursday. The question is whether or not that game will be a simulated game, or live action against the Kansas City Royals.

It was announced Monday that second baseman Jason Kipnis (hamstring) will be working towards returning as a center fielder in the absence of Bradley Zimmer. Kipnis ran through outfield drills as a part of his rehab on Tuesday, and is planning on a return Sunday against Kansas City.

For Miller, the decision over whether or not he returns is a matter of his recovery from his sim game, according to his manager.

“We just need some time to get Andrew, Mickey (Callaway), myself, the medical guys together later today or maybe even tomorrow ‘cause we want to see how he bounces back, but it will be Thursday, and those are the two choices,” Francona said.

The idea of a home return for Kipnis is one that is optimistic, as the training staff prefers for a return against the Los Angeles Angels to start the road trip.

“Maybe we’ll split the difference and let him come in here Monday on the off-day. I’m sure he’ll like that,” Francona joked. “But anyway, that’s sort of a general timetable. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes out there and does just fine. That’s kind of how I feel about it.”

The forecast for Zimmer is not as bright, given the recency of the injury, but the original assumption that the rookie will miss the rest of the season could have been premature.

Following surgery on the hand early Tuesday, an internal fixation of the 4th metacarpal, using a plate and 9 screws.Francona revealed an initial medical timetable of 6-to-8 weeks. The shorter end of that prognosis would have Zimmer back for the first game of the World Series, should the Indians reach the Fall Classic, while the back end would be days too late.

Francona said that the schedule will not be adhered to by any strict manner, and that the team will take Zimmer’s recovery step by step.

“In two weeks we’ll let him get looked at it, see what he’s able to do and let him do as much as he can and see where it goes,” the skipper added. “I mean last year (catcher Yan Gomes) was supposedly done for the year and he played, so rather than … we just want to get him better.”

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