"It could be," Francona said before Sunday's game against the A's. "We'll see, though."
Francona was not ready to disclose the results of the MRI, because the manager wants to discuss the situation further with team doctor Mark Schickendantz, Cleveland's medical staff and general manager Chris Antonetti before announcing any upcoming decision regarding Kipnis' status. Antonetti is scheduled to join the team on the road in Anaheim on Monday.
Kipnis has dealt with shoulder discomfort at various points throughout this season, but the issue flared more in the past week. Prior to taking the second baseman out of the lineup on Sunday, Francona had used Kipnis as a designated hitter in three of the previous five games. The manager noted that the shoulder does not bother Kipnis much while he is hitting.
"I would think that's kind of a good sign," Francona said. "I think the last couple days it's just been kind of aggravating him a little bit."
With Kipnis out of the lineup on Sunday, Francona gave right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall the nod as Cleveland's leadoff man against A's righty Sonny Gray. If Kipnis is out for a prolonged period, outfielder Michael Bourn or shortstop Francisco Lindor might see time in the lineup's top spot.
Through 101 games this season, Kipnis has turned in a .326/.401/.477 slash line with six homers, six triples, 31 doubles, 39 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and 66 runs for the Indians. He entered Sunday ranked first in the American League in hits (132) and doubles, third in average and on-base percentage, tied for seventh in runs and 10th in OPS (.878).
Kipnis (5.1) also trailed only Angels outfielder Mike Trout (6.5) and Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (5.3) in WAR among AL batters, according to Fangraphs.com.
Kipnis politely declined comment on Sunday, but said he would be willing to address the matter soon.
"We'll just kind of put our heads together and see what we want to do about it," Francona said of Kipnis' injury. "We want to make good decisions for him. So, we'll kind of get through today, let him also kind of digest it a little bit, and we'll talk more later and then see how we want to go about this."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.