Matthew Manouli | Wed 13/09/2017 - 05:16 EDT

MLB Injury Report: Bryce Harper's Not Ready Yet For MLB playoffs

MLB Injury Report: Bryce Harper's Not Ready Yet For MLB playoffs

Bryce Harper's Injury

Fans will no doubt recall that night in mid-August, when the Washington Nationals were flying high and were looking at an easy win against the San Francisco Giants. But then the unthinkable happened. What the MLB called a "national story", most likely for the pun, Bryce Harper slipped, skidded, and came crashing down near first base, clutching his knee in agony. The Nats went on to win that game 3-1, but the longterm effect to their season could be quite drastic. It's a shame the field was so slippery from the rain, but after delays, everyone just wanted to finally play.

Harper immediately went on the DL, and the prognosis wasn't initially looking good. What was thought of as just a hyperextended left knee, turned into an ensuing bone bruise and strained calf as well. Some even speculate that the 24-year-old's injuries are more significant than the team is letting on. Either way, he's missed almost a month of baseball, and yes, longterm missing more months would definitely be a detriment to the team, but the Nationals are still deep and have kept the ball rolling along despite Harper's absence.

In fact, they became the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason, making Harp's eventual return all that much more enticing. Before his injury, he was having a stellar season, batting .326 with a .419 OBP, and .614 SLG for 29 home runs in 106 games and 87 RBIs to boot. He was on pace for another 2015 MVP season, where he belted 42 homers. You know when he comes back, he'll want to make up for missing out on what might have been this time around. 

Will He Be Back In Time?

As of mid-September, reports are varied on Harper's comeback.

Because the Washington Nationals already clinched, they wouldn't be doing themselves any favors in playing him if he somehow can return before October. It's too bad Harper coming back too quickly isn't one of Washington's major problems though. So that leaves whether he'll be back in time or not. And if not, will his team miss his presence enough for it to make a difference? The postseason is a mean beast, and whole series can be won by a few inches.

First, the good news. While watching Harp take that tumble even hurt our knees a bit, it could have been a lot worse. He didn't suffer a torn ligament, thankfully for him and his fans, but his injuries still take a while to heal. He's currently doing intense rehab daily to help get back into the game as soon as possible. The two time MVP definitely loves the sport, and getting him back in the lineup is of upmost importance, but you can't rush rehab, and bringing Harper back at 50% for the ALDS instead of at 90% for the ALCS would be a mistake, especially for the longterm future of the team.

The bad news is that some have interpreted Harp's demeanor and responses as meaning his injuries are a bit more severe than the team is letting on. That could either mean a longer delay in his return, perhaps in time for the World Series if they make it that far, or coming into the ALCS at 50% instead of at 90 or 100%. Realistically, there's no way to tell, and if his injuries truly are more severe, the Nats would have no choice but to bring Harp back before he's really ready. He can barely run right now, but hey, you don't need speedy baserunning if you hit home runs constantly. Hopefully Harper keeps that in mind. 

Jayson Werth getting some ABs will be a welcome boost to their offense, and even with Harper out in the playoffs, this is a team to be reckoned with. Their improved bullpen makes them an automatic contender, and they should be able to get past the first round without their star slugger. It's the later rounds where Harper will be necessary. The National League is no joke, with the likes of the Cubs, Dodgers, D-Backs, and Rockies most likely in the hunt. One thing's for sure though. If Harper comes back at full strength, their competition in the playoffs should get scared... very scared. Especially when Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman get back to form.

Do you think Harper will return in time for the playoffs? If so, will he make a difference? Let us know what you think in the comment section below! And be sure to share if you liked this article! If you want to jump on the Nationals train early, be sure to go to Sports Interaction and get the best Washington futures odds and nightly moneylines.

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