Polanco, back in the lineup after being held out of Thursday's game to rest his sore back, drew a four-pitch walk in the first inning and came around to score on a Magglio Ordonez double. The run, however, came at a price. As he slid home ahead of the throw, his left foot collided with the right leg of Rays catcher Dioner Navarro.
"At first, he wasn't really blocking the plate," Polanco said, "so I'm going for the plate. And then, very late, he got down. It hit the shin guard and twisted."
The impact left Polanco writhing in pain at the plate as Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand rushed out from the dugout to attend to him.
Ryan Raburn, who started in Polanco's place on Thursday, replaced him at second on Friday to start the second inning. It's uncertain at this point whether Polanco will be able to start Saturday or Sunday. Polanco said he would see how it feels Saturday.
"It doesn't look too bad, to be honest with you," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't know what's going to happen the next couple times. Certainly, I'm not going to have somebody playing in pain with two days to go when we're out of the race. If he's all right, I might play him Sunday for the fans. If not, it won't."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.