MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers expect second baseman Rickie Weeks to miss 2-6 weeks with a severely sprained left ankle, but he will not need surgery, a mixed outcome for a team that must move on without one of its best hitters.

Manager Ron Roenicke said that, by definition, Weeks suffered ligament damage in his left ankle when he stretched for an infield single in Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Cubs. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday morning and replaced by Triple-A Nashville second baseman Eric Farris.

Craig Counsell, Josh Wilson and Farris are positioned to share second-base duties for now. Brewers officials were working the phones Thursday, looking for help ahead of Sunday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"It's a disappointment for us and for him. You feel terrible for him," Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said. "At the same time, we don't have a lot of time to sit here and dwell on it. We have to move on. Nobody in our division is going to feel bad for us. Great teams find a way to overcome these things."

The Brewers entered Thursday in first place in the National League Central, a half-game ahead of the Cardinals and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Pirates.

Weeks underwent X-rays and an MRI scan Wednesday night, and was at Miller Park on Thursday morning undergoing extensive treatment to limit swelling in the joint. That should speed the healing process. He was fitted with a boot over his left foot.

On the optimistic end of his timetable, Weeks could be back by mid-August. If he takes six weeks to heal, he would not be back until mid-September.

"You don't know how they heal up," Roenicke said. "Some guys come back in two weeks, other guys take the six. It's hard to say. Part of Rickie's game is the speed on defense, speed on the basepaths, and until he's right, it's going to be hard to put him out there."

It's a very serious loss for a club with postseason aspirations. Weeks ranked second in the National League with 71 runs scored and third on the team with 19 home runs.

His 3.9 WAR (wins above average) made Weeks the most valuable second baseman in the NL, according to Fangraphs.com.

"Hey, we needed him," Roenicke said. "I think Prince [Fielder] is swinging the bat better, which is big. [Braun] is still good. Losing Rickie, some other guys are going to have to pick it up a little bit [and] the pitching needs to continue."