NEW YORK -- In the moment, the injury looked worse than it was. Mets left-hander Jon Niese left Tuesday's game against the Dodgers in the third inning after taking a comebacker off his right leg, but X-rays were negative and Niese expects to make his next start.
"What are the odds that ball hits my ankle?" Niese said. "It's one of those things where I'm glad it's not as bad as what it could have been. I'll just move on, shake it off and get ready for my next start."
Niese appeared to be in severe pain after Mark Ellis' comebacker struck him on the lower half of his right leg, hopping to foul territory and sitting there for several moments without attempting to stand. Following a discussion with Mets trainer Ray Ramirez, Niese walked off the field under his own power. The Mets later diagnosed a bruise between the ankle bone and Achilles tendon in his right leg.
"I didn't know what it hit at first," Niese said after Tuesday's 7-2 loss. "I think it was more of a stinger than anything; it kind of made my whole foot numb a little bit. But it feels good now. I've got feeling in it. It's just a good bruise right now."
Still, it gave the Mets quite a scare. Niese had been the Mets' best starting pitcher outside of Matt Harvey through his first four turns of the rotation, going 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA. Were he not so sure about making his next start, the Mets -- who have already endured rotation injuries to Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum -- would be looking at calling up one of Collin McHugh, D.J. Mitchell, Rafael Montero or Zack Wheeler to take his place.
Instead they should turn again to Niese, who gave up one run in 2 1/3 innings prior to his injury.
"There's no question when it happened, your first worry is that something serious is there, and how are we going to fill it?" manager Terry Collins said. "But there's no reason to panic."
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.