Eventually, Carl Crawford figures he will need surgery on his left elbow.

"Probably at some point it's going to blow out on me," the Red Sox left fielder said Sunday. "It's one of those deals where it is what it is."

Crawford has been recovering from a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection in late April, but the procedure hasn't alleviated the discomfort in his elbow. Crawford said doctors have told him he likely will need to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery, although it's unclear how long he will be able to play before taking that measure.

So, why wait?

"Thought about it," Crawford said, "but at this point, if I can play, I think (the Red Sox) want me out on the field. I'm just trying to do everything I can to get back out on the field. Right now, I feel like if I couldn't help the team, I wouldn't get out there."

The Red Sox view surgery as a last resort, not a foregone conclusion. In fact, general manager Ben Cherington noted yesterday that many non-pitchers have played through similar injuries without requiring surgery. Among them: Albert Pujols, who has averaged 155 games per season throughout his career despite spraining his UCL in 2003.

"(Surgery) is not something we are looking at right now," Cherington told the Boston Herald. "A lot of position players play through UCL injuries without issue. We just need to see how he responds over a longer period of time."

If Crawford has to undergo surgery, the recovery time typically isn't as long as it is for pitchers, who often miss at least 12 months. Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles had Tommy John surgery in May 2009 and was playing for the Kansas City Royals in spring training of 2010.

"It doesn't really hurt when I throw in action," Crawford said. "It's weird. It's like when I'm warming up, it's a little sore. But when I'm in action making a throw, it doesn't really bother me as much. It doesn't hurt at all when I swing a bat. If there was some pain there, I'd probably have to sit down."