Bryce Harper’s injury worse than feared, but he keeps swinging

Bryce Harper’s injury worse than feared, but he keeps swinging

The Phillies are finding out more about the elbow injury that has plagued Bryce Harper for a month – and the news isn’t exactly good.

Harper has a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right elbow, the team confirmed Thursday night. He will not give birth for a month and will be treated with an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on Sunday. The procedure will keep Harper out of the lineup when the Phils wrap up a series in Los Angeles on Sunday and likely Tuesday when the club returns home to host the San Diego Padres.

Harper will be able to continue serving as the Phillies’ designated batsman while his recovery from the injury continues. He first injured his elbow while making a throw in right field on April 11. He hasn’t played in right field since April 16 but has been in the lineup for 23 straight games as a DH, including Thursday night in Los Angeles.

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Harper was initially diagnosed with mild strain in the flexor mass, the area where the forearm meets the elbow. He regularly tested the elbow with light throws, but continued to feel uncomfortable. The team ordered some more tests last week and they confirmed a small tear in the UCL. Harper was examined by orthopedist Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Thursday.

UCL tears can be scary. They can lead to Tommy John surgery and more than a year of rehab. Some small UCL tears can heal without surgery. That’s what the Phillies are hoping for. The Phils will know more when Harper starts a throwing program in a month.

Some UCL tears can be repaired with surgery that requires significantly less recovery time than Tommy John surgery. Rhys Hoskins underwent an operation known as an internal brace procedure after the 2020 season and was fully recovered by Opening Day 2021.

Phillies general manager Sam Fuld spoke with Scott Franzke on Thursday night’s pregame radio show and expressed optimism that Harper is going in the right direction.

“That’s good news in relative terms,” ​​Fuld said. “There is a plan and there is faith in that plan. The result could certainly have been worse.

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“I know Bryce will be happy to have a plan that we all agree on and have some clarity on. I think this is helpful for players when they get injured just to know what the near future is on a daily basis.

“There is a good dose of optimism that PRP can be helpful and we are optimistic that things will turn out well in the medium to long term and in the meantime we will continue to let Bryce work outside of the DH spot.”

The injury only affects Harper’s ability to throw the ball. His swing is fine. In fact, he scored in the first inning of Thursday night’s game against the Dodgers.

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