The swelling in Bryce Harper’s left knee has not subsided since he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and in search of a second opinion on what’s ailing the 20-year-old outfielder, the Nationals are sending Harper to renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Harper has been diagnosed with bursitis in his left knee, but he hasn’t played since May 26, and the knee has not improved much in that span.
The knee started swelling up again after Harper did some jogging in a pool, according to manager Davey Johnson, and as a result, the Nats are sending Harper to Dr. Andrews to try and get a better understanding of how they should proceed from here.
“He’s going to see Andrews on Monday,” Johnson said. “He’s probably not going to be available to come off (the DL) when he’s supposed to come off. Hopefully (Andrews is) going to have some sort of better news for us.”
The Nats are confident that their original diagnosis of bursitis in the knee is correct, Johnson said, and if Andrews confirms that diagnosis, he could recommend a wide range of treatment options from here.
Draining the bursa sac doesn’t appear to be an option because there isn’t much fluid built up in the knee, according to Johnson, and while doctors could remove the bursa sac, the Nats view that as the last resort. Surgery to remove the bursa sac would likely knock Harper out for an additional two to three weeks, Johnson said.
“I thought if he took some anti-inflammatory it would calm it down, but it’s kind of been lingering,” Johnson said. “When he runs it swells up. He was jogging in the pool it swelled up from that. We’re concerned so we’ll get another opinion on it. ... We’ll see what Andrews says.
“Just gotta get the swelling down, we gotta get the inflammation out of there. That’s the big thing and how they go about doing that. We haven’t been real successful with our treatment here. He constantly gets treatment here, but we’ve got to get that inflammation out of there.
Harper originally injured the knee when colliding with the right field wall in Dodger Stadium May 13. He twice tried to return to the lineup after that, only to again be sidelined when the swelling in the knee increased. Harper aggravated the knee when sliding into third base against the Phillies on May 26, and has been sidelined since then.
With his DL stint backdated to May 27, Harper is eligible to come off the DL this upcoming Tuesday, June 11, but that won’t be happening. Harper acknowledged this weekend that instead of trying to play through the original injury, he should’ve gone on the DL and allowed himself time to heal, and he’s taking that same cautious mindset into this part of the rehabilitation process, as well.
“I’m going to take as much time as I can to get right,” Harper said. “I want to get back in this lineup 100 percent. I don’t want back in it at 80 percent.”
Asked if he would consider getting a cortisone shot in the knee to clear up some of the swelling and inflammation in the joint, Harper said he doesn’t want to go that route.
“I don’t want to put any of that stuff in my knee, in my body,” he said. “I think that that would do some damage to my knee and I’m not going to do that at 20 years old.”
Update: The tarp has been on the field for the last half-hour or so, the rain continues to fall at Nats Park and tonight’s Nationals-Mets game will officially be delayed.
A team spokesman said that officials would meet at 7 p.m. to discuss options for tonight. I’ll be sure to pass along anything new that comes out.