Bryce Harper visited renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews at his institute in Pensacola, Fla., for a second opinion on his swollen left knee this morning as scheduled. One person familiar with the visit said the injury that has sidelined Harper since May 27 will not lead to long-term damage. Further details about Harper’s short-term diagnosis or when he could return to the Nationals’ lineup remain unclear.
Monday evening, Harper posted a seemingly encouraging tweet:
All good! #FinishIt
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) June 10, 2013
General Manager Mike Rizzo said yesterday he had “no worry” that Harper’s visit would reveal structural damage in Harper’s left knee. The Nationals’ medical staff diagnosed Harper with bursitis, and the Nationals scheduled his appointment with Andrews after the swelling in his increased following a light workout in a pool. The swelling in Harper’s knee has gone down in recent days, both Rizzo and Manager Davey Johnson said.
The Nationals remained convinced throughout Harper’s ordeal, which began in mid-May, had suffered no structural damage in his knee, based on an MRI conducted by Nationals team physician Dr. Wiemi Douoguih.
“The worst-case scenario is that it swells up and then it would need to be drained, or even have that sac surgically removed,” Douoguih said May 27. “That’s something we want to avoid and that’s why we’re shutting him down now. From a structural standpoint, it’s not harming any of the ligaments or tendons or particular cartilage in his knee. That’s what we’re most concerned about. We’re trying to control so it doesn’t advance to the point where we need to take that sac out, or take fluid out.”
Harper first injured his knee May 13 in Los Angeles, when he crashed into the Dodger Stadium fence while chasing a fly ball. The day after, Harper received X-rays on his left knee and left shoulder, and General Manager Mike Rizzo described Harper’s status as “day-to-day.”
Harper pinch-hit May 15, started May 16 and bounced in and out of the lineup until May 26, when he aggravated his left knee with two headfirst slides and with a foul ball off his knee. The Nationals diagnosed him with bursitis, or heavy swelling of the bursa sac. He sat out the next five games, and the Nationals placed him on the 15-day disabled list June 1.