With slight trust and strength still lacking in his left leg, Troy Tulowitzki is unlikely to return until closer to the end of this month, the two-time all-star shortstop told The Denver Post after a workout Friday.

His condition is monitored daily. He will not play in the Padres series, with the final road trip emerging as a possibility, which would allow him to transition seamlessly into the instructional league.

"As much as I want to play, the best thing to do is be smart and realize I have a long career and next year ahead of me. You think about those things. You need to be smart about it," Tulowitzki said. "There's no doubt that I want to get back in there, but I don't want to push anything and get hurt. That hurts the team."

The issues remain bursting out of the batter's box to leg out an extra-base hit and chasing down a popup in the outfield. Tulowitzki has not cleared the mental hurdles, admittedly hesitating when he feels pain in the left groin that was surgically repaired June 21.

"I need to get to where I am playing worry-free. I think the first couple of steps still is 'My leg is all right, then play baseball.' I want to be going on straight instincts from the get-go instead of worrying about my leg," Tulowitzki said. "There's still some worry there. Not that I am going to be OK, but the pain factor involved."