September 27, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Bryce Harper’s injury is more serious than feared, but he continues to swing

Bryce Harper's injury is more serious than feared, but he continues to swing

The Phillies are learning more about the elbow injury that has plagued Bryce Harper for a month — and the news isn’t necessarily good.

The team confirmed Thursday night that Harper had a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The child will not throw up for a month and will be treated on Sunday with an injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The measure will keep Harper out of the squad when the Phils close a series in Los Angeles on Sunday and likely on Tuesday when the club returns home to host the San Diego Padres.

Harper will be able to continue to serve as a designated racket for the Phillies as he continues to recover from the injury. He injured his elbow for the first time taking a right-court throw on April 11th. He hasn’t played field right since April 16 but has been in the lineup as DH in 23 consecutive games, 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 tested the elbow periodically with some light throwing but continued to feel uncomfortable. The team requested some additional testing last week and confirmed a small tear in the UCL. Harper was examined Thursday in Los Angeles by orthopedic surgeon Neil Turks.

UCL tears can be frightening. It could lead to Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation for a year. Some small UCL tears can heal without surgery. That’s what the Phyllis are hoping for. Phils will know more when Harper begins a throwing program in a month.

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Some UCL tears can be repaired with surgery that requires much less recovery time than Tommy John’s surgery. Reese Hoskins underwent surgerycalled the internal brace procedure, was after the 2020 season and had fully recovered by opening day 2021.

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

“In relative terms, that’s good news,” Fuld said. There is a plan in place and there is confidence surrounding that plan. Surely the outcome could have been worse.

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“I know Price would be happy to have a plan that we all agree with and have some clarity on. I think that’s useful for the players, any time you’re hurt, just to see what the near term is like on a daily basis.

“There is a great deal of optimism that PRP can be beneficial and we are optimistic that things will improve in the medium to long term, and in the meantime, we will continue to work Bryce out of the DH site.”

The injury only affects Harper’s ability to throw the ball. Hammock is fine. In fact, he came back in the first half of Thursday night’s game against the Dodgers.

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