The Red Sox’ first glimpse of life after Jacoby Ellsbury has arrived sooner than expected.

Ellsbury underwent an MRI on his right foot in Boston on Saturday and it revealed swelling and inflammation at the navicular bone according to manager John Farrell. Ellsbury will now receive a second opinion in Denver and while it’s unclear how long he’ll be sidelined the Red Sox are suddenly forced to weather the absence of one of baseball’s most dynamic leadoff hitters.

“I don’t think we’re looking at something that’s just day-to-day here” Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Adding to an already troubling outlook on Ellsbury is the Red Sox’ recent history with injuries to the navicular bone. Dustin Pedroia broke the bone in 2010 and missed a bulk of the final three months and Cody Ross suffered a fracture in 2012 that sidelined him for a month. When you consider such it’s not totally outlandish to think that Ellsbury who is a free agent after the season might have played his last game with the Red Sox although general manager Ben Cherington offered some optimism before Saturdays’ game.

“My understanding is there’s not a long-term concern here” Cherington told reporters. “It’s really about how do we best manage it over the course of the next several weeks and hopefully he can play a lot in those several weeks. I know he wants to play. We obviously want him to play. It’s our hope that he’ll be playing before too long.”

Clearly there’s still a lot to sort out in this whole Ellsbury situation. But the mere idea of losing an explosive top-of-the-order presence in September is devastating especially given how well Ellsbury has played since mid May.

Ellsbury’s .330 average since May 26 ranks fifth in the American League. His average has risen 50 points — .249 to .299 — in that span and his 17 three-hit games this season are second only to Victor Martinez’s 18 three-knock performances. Ellsbury’s consistency at the plate has made him even more dangerous as he’s been able to wreak tons of havoc on the bases.

“Let’s not kid ourselves” Farrell said Saturday. “Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot — with the stolen base ability the talent that he has — this is a guy we’re going to miss for the time being that he will be out.”

Ellsbury currently leads the majors with 52 stolen bases and even more impressive is the efficiency with which he’s accumulated the thefts. His 92.9 percent success rate — also tops in baseball — has helped transform the Red Sox into a more aggressive team on the base paths.