Dr. Robert Watkins, the Dodgers' back specialist who examined Eric Davis' injured neck Thursday, said surgery was unlikely but the disabled list was a possibility.
"If it keeps bothering him so he can't play, the possibility for the disabled list is there," Watkins said. "Surgery is unlikely. We've seen many people who have had this who never need surgery."
Watkins said Davis could also take a cortisone shot for the herniated disk in his neck, but Davis said earlier this week that the only two cortisone shots he has ever taken were during postseason games.
"I hate to do that now, and cover up the pain, and just make it worse," Davis said.
Davis was rested for a second consecutive game Friday after aggravating the injury on a plane ride, but he said he hopes to return to the lineup by the final game of the series against Atlanta Sunday.
"If I have to wear my neck brace on the field, I'll be there," said Davis, who wears the neck brace at home.
Davis acknowledged, however, that the neck problems have caused pain in his right arm, which he says has caused erratic throwing.
"I've never missed cutoff men like I've been missing cutoff men," Davis said.
The Dodgers are worried because Hubie Brooks of the Angels had a similar condition that required surgery last year. Such a procedure would probably cause Davis to miss much of the summer.
"The way he's playing now, we're all kind of following him," Darryl Strawberry said. "We really need him in the lineup. But I know he's in such bad pain, he can hardly move."
Davis leads the team in batting average (.375), home runs (three) and runs batted in (eight).
After missing consecutive starts because of a sore hand, Juan Samuel was back in the lineup Friday when the swelling went down. . . . The Dodgers are impressed with Deion Sanders, who has started eight of 11 games this season with hits after hitting a leadoff single against Ramon Martinez Friday. That also gave Sanders an 11-game hitting streak. Before Friday, Sanders led the National League in batting average (.452), hits (19), total bases (35) and triples (five). "When I saw Deion last year it was like, 'Well, he's trying, but he's no Bo Jackson,' " Brett Butler said. "But now, I'm really impressed. He is a throwback player with modern day grace and style. You think of players who have great talent but are just good players because they choose to be mediocre. Deion is not like that. If he keeps working hard, the sky is the limit." Strawberry on Sanders: "I wish I was him."