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08/27/09 7:45 PM ET

Return of Jones is close but uncertain

Center fielder hasn't run sprints or taken batting practice

BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones met the media in a somber and reticent mood Thursday and explained for the fourth straight day that there is no update on his ailing back. Jones wasn't sure what the next step will be, but he said that he'll see how his back responds Friday and that he hopes to play as soon as possible.

"I'm not playing today," he said in an expressionless monotone. "Hopefully tomorrow."

Manager Dave Trembley was a little more expansive, albeit with the caveat that nobody knows exactly when Jones will be able to play. Baltimore's center fielder injured himself in the series finale in Chicago and missed all three games of the Minnesota series, and Trembley said that the Orioles are just being careful with their All-Star.

"He's close to being ready to play," he said. "He's not happy that he's not playing, but at the advice of our head athletic trainer, we're going to give him another day and hope we can get him out there tomorrow."

Jones, who had never experienced a back injury before, said he hasn't been able to run sprints or take batting practice. The 24-year-old initially hurt himself Sunday while swinging the bat and felt back spasms when he tried to run the bases. Baltimore removed him immediately and has played Felix Pie extensively in his absence.

Now, the Orioles are waiting on approval from head athletic trainer Richie Bancells.

"I think Richie was just waiting for better range of motion," said Trembley. "He told me that he felt all the spasms have gone. There's some soreness there, but his feeling was that if he really twisted and swung, he'd re-aggravate that, and we'd start all the way back again at step one. We really don't want to do that at this particular point in time."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.