Clayton Kershaw hits IL with lower back pain after warm-up pitches gone wrong

Clayton Kershaw exited a game early on Thursday due to yet another issue with his back, and now the Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star is hitting the injured list.

The longtime Dodgers pitcher was throwing warmup pitches before the bottom of the fifth inning when he stopped and signaled to the dugout that something was wrong. Amateur lip-readers believed him to say, "My back," as he walked off the mound.

Kershaw exited with four strikeouts and two runs allowed (one earned) in four innings of work.

The Dodgers announced around an hour later Kershaw exited with lower back pain, then announced the next day he would be placed on the injured list.

Kershaw said after the game his back "locked up" and he would undergo tests on Friday to determine the severity of the injury, according to The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya.

Another back injury for Clayton Kershaw

While the severity of Kershaw's injury remains unclear, his history of back issues is hard to ignore. The 34-year-old has now hit the injured list with back-related injuries in six different seasons since 2014, though none of the injuries before this one have ever been season-ending.

Kershaw has already hit the injured list once this season due to right SI joint inflammation, missing about a month of action between May and June. He's been stellar when on the mound, entering Thursday with a 2.66 ERA, 84 strikeouts and a 0.984 WHIP in 81.1 innings across 14 starts.

Any time missed for Kershaw would be a blow to the Dodgers, who have already dealt with significant injuries to starters Walker Buehler, Andrew Heaney and several bullpen arms this season. They are also still awaiting the return of Dustin May, currently on a rehab assignment in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

When healthy, the Dodgers have an abundance of starting pitching to the point they decreased their rotation depth at the trade deadline by sending Mitch White to the Toronto Blue Jays. That health was a significant question mark, though, and even more so as of Thursday

DENVER, CO - JULY 30: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on from the dugout during a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 30, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
A Clayton Kershaw injury would be very bad for the Dodgers. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)