Lieber's Prognosis Good, May Return Next Week

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Byline: Bruce Miles Daily Herald Sports Writer

MONTREAL - The Cubs got some encouraging news about pitcher Jon Lieber on Wednesday.

Lieber saw team physician Dr. Michael Schafer again and had an MRI performed. The MRI showed only some inflammation, or tendinitis, in the area where the right elbow and forearm come together.

Saturday's start against the Reds is out of the question for Lieber, but the Cubs hope he will be able to throw on the side Friday. If he's pain free, he can return to the rotation sometime next week.

"There's nothing that's a significant problem at all," said Jim Hendry, the Cubs' vice president for player personnel.

Lieber will stay on anti-inflammatory medication for the time being.

"He won't pitch again until he can throw on the side and use all his pitches and there's no problems with at all," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "We just need to get him pain free now so, as much as anything, in is own mind, he knows it's OK."

For the weekend series at Wrigley Field, the Cubs will go with Matt Clement on Friday and then move Kerry Wood up to Saturday and Juan Cruz up to Sunday.

Prior sparkles: Mark Prior, the Cubs' No. 1 draft pick from a year ago, had another solid outing Wednesday for Class AA West Tenn.

Prior ran his record to 3-0 and his ERA to 1. …