The MRI was done for precautionary reasons, as Pavano's velocity has dipped this season. His fastball is averaging 86.6 mph after averaging 89 mph last season, according to FanGraphs.com.
Pavano is still slated to make his scheduled start against the Indians on Monday at Target Field.
"They did a precautionary MRI on him because of his velocity, but everything checked out fantastic," Gardenhire said. "He has a little inflammation, but that's it. The MRI was very positive, so now mechanically it's maybe about getting a little more turn and rotation."
Pavano, though, said that he'll still have the results of the MRI sent to Dr. David Altchek in New York for a second opinion, just to be safe. He also hinted he could get a cortisone shot next weekend.
"I've been trying to stretch it out and strengthen it," Pavano said. "I haven't really gotten a protocol of what to do, other than after my start in Milwaukee I'll probably take a cortisone shot and see if that clears it up. It hasn't gotten worse, it just hasn't gotten better."
Pavano, 36, has a 5.02 ERA in seven starts this season after posting a 4.30 ERA in 33 outings last year.
The Twins have stretched out relievers Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak in case they're needed to join the rotation.