The New York Mets will have to stitch together a lineup without their star third baseman and electrifying new first baseman for at least three more weeks.

The team revealed yesterday that David Wright's lower back fracture was farther behind in its healing than originally thought, and the third baseman would need to wait at least three weeks before resuming baseball activities.

Wright was seen by spine specialist Dr. Patrick O'Leary yesterday.

I was trying to prepare myself to come off this thing as soon as possible, Wright said. But obviously, they're not going to allow me to come off and go out there and do something that I might hurt myself further and miss even more time--and we're talking about big chunks of time. The doctors' point of view and probably everyone's point of view except mine is that you can't necessarily rush this thing back and risk missing a year.

Ike Davis, the Mets' 24-year-old first baseman, visited the team's clubhouse yesterday, wearing a protective boot on his left ankle. Davis sprained his ankle and bruised a bone in his heel in a collision with Wright on May 10. He will have an MRI in 2 1/2 weeks to gauge his progress, but for now, Davis reports that he is doing a lot of fishing and watching TV. Davis was batting .302 when he went on the disabled list.

Much as New York would like to get their regular players back in their positions, their replacements haven't done poorly filling in for them. Daniel Murphy has shown competence fielding at first base, and his batting average is .338, with a .397 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage. Justin Turner has provided good defense at third while batting .340 with a .377 OBP and .440 SLG.

But the Mets aren't winning, and the front office has to be looking forward to the team playing after the All-Star break, when Wright, Davis and top pitcher Johan Santana will all return to the dugout.