Head athletic trainer Stan Johnston said Shuey probably would miss at least six weeks, although the team won't know for sure until the right-hander's injury is evaluated.
"He was avoiding a throw," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "He went down and put his hands down, and his thumb went into the ground."
An MRI exam showed that Shuey had a rupture of the extensor pollicis longus tendon.
The 33-year-old pitcher went 6-4 with a 3.00 ERA in 62 appearances for the Dodgers last season. He is one of 16 relievers to have appeared in 40 or more games each of the last eight years.
Paul Shuey ruptures tendon
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