Vernon Wells didn't hesitate when asked when he thought he could return to the lineup.

"Tomorrow," he joked.

Then the easy-going veteran gave his realistic answer.

"I'm hoping it's going to be the next two to three weeks," he said. "They're telling me it will be closer to three."

That would be much longer than desired by Wells, who's had to exercise patience with a right groin strain that's kept him out since May 9. He was hoping it would be a matter of weeks before he returned, but it will likely be more than a month when it's all said and done.

"Anytime you kind of pop something, it's not a good thing," Wells said. "Usually if it's a hamstring or something, I can kind of get through it. For me not to be able to run, obviously it's pretty bad. Obviously I don't want it to be prolonged.

"It's a hard thing for me trying not to come back too soon. It's a struggle."

The Angels have struggled to get a return for Wells, the team's biggest offseason acquisition who'll make $23 million this season. A career .280 hitter entering this season, Wells was hitting .183 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 35 games before the injury.

The Angels are 2-6 with his replacement, Howie Kendrick, in left field.

Wells began swimming exercises this week and can't do much more, other than a lot of core workouts that "hurt a lot," but he also said the area feels much better, which makes it that much more frustrating to hold back,

as he doesn't want to aggravate the injury and extend what's been a disappointing season so far.