Kemp, a late scratch Saturday night, underwent an MRI on Sunday, which indicated swelling in the major weight-bearing bone of his left ankle. If Kemp continued to play, there was a possibility the ankle could break.
Kemp was on crutches after Sunday's 2-1 defeat to the Rockies, and team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache said the outfielder would need to avoid putting weight on his ankle for at least a month.
"Pretty bad sign when they pull out the crutches," Kemp said. "To sum it up, if I keep going out there ... I could break it, and I don't want that. It could turn out really bad for me."
Although Kemp has avoided surgery for now, ElAttrache said there's a possibility Kemp would need an arthroscopic procedure to remove bone chips from the ankle if his recovery does not go as planned.
"We fully expect that that will heal, given enough time and relative protection from weight bearing," ElAttrache said. "But he's going to be recovering from this into the offseason."
Kemp said he was "super surprised" by the diagnosis. He missed 52 games after spraining the ankle July 21 but returned Sept. 16 and played 11 games. Kemp felt fine Friday, his fourth start in as many days, then reported increased stiffness and soreness in his ankle Saturday, which led to the MRI.
"I worked really hard, I was doing well and thinking I'd be OK," Kemp said. "I was excited two or three days ago, felt real good at the plate. I got my swing back, everything I needed to perform. Then they tell me I can't perform anymore. It's tough."
Kemp's loss comes on the heels of another left ankle injury to Andre Ethier, who also might not be available to play in the postseason.
Despite the bad news, manager Don Mattingly said the Dodgers would not panic heading into Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Braves on Thursday.
"I don't think anybody out there in that room is going to be willing to give this thing up because Matt is hurt," Mattingly said. "Without saying it in a bad way, we played all year long without Matt. We're capable of winning. We're not just going to roll over and act like something is wrong now. We're not going to be full strength. If you don't have Andre and you don't have Matt, you're not as good as you could be. But we're still good enough to win."
Kemp said he also expects to undergo cleanup surgery on the AC joint in his left shoulder. ElAttrache said a date for the procedure has not been set but estimated a recovery time of six weeks.
Kemp, who has been on the disabled list three times this season for a total of 88 games, initially injured his ankle in an awkward slide at the plate July 21 in Washington. Kemp was not hustling on the play and admitted he did not expect a play at the plate.
"You feel bad that he's not going to be out there and he's had a rough year," Mattingly said. "Physically, it's been tough, it seems like really since [his shoulder] surgery last winter. It's been a rough year. You feel bad for the guy. You know he wants to be out there. He wants to compete. But his body says he can't right now."