NEW YORK -- Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Shaun Marcum's injury is that the Mets have no idea when he might make his debut.
"I wish I did," manager Terry Collins said. "Because it has to do with the nerves, I'm not really sure how to approach it. I haven't really had to deal with something like that before. So we'll just go on what the doctors tell us and see where he is when it's time to resume some throwing."
The Mets on Thursday gave Marcum a diagnosis of nerve inflammation in his neck, administering trigger-point injections to relieve his discomfort. They will re-evaluate him in Florida this weekend, but that does not necessarily mean a return to the mound.
Even once Marcum does begin pitching, he must build his arm strength back to Major League levels. Because the right-hander has not even completed a bullpen session over the last two weeks, that could take significant time.
"It's all about being able to get his arm up to a consistent release point," Collins said. "If the nerves are flaring up again, he's going to have a tough time doing it, which is going to cause some discomfort. Until a few days from now, we're not really sure where we're at."
In the interim, Aaron Laffey will pitch Sunday, with a chance to stick in the rotation depending on his performance.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.