Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes is helped off the field by trainer Tony Leo, right, and manager Paul Molitor, left, after he was hit in the knee with a line drive by Miami Marlins' J.T. Realmuto during the ninth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Jun
Jim Mone
June 11, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes has a broken bone above his left knee that's expected to require six to eight weeks to heal, raising doubt about whether the struggling right-hander will return this season.

An MRI test on Hughes revealed an impaction fracture on his femur, a tiny crack caused by a line drive by Miami's J.T. Realmuto that hit him Thursday. Initial X-rays on Hughes showed no break, but the 29-year-old needed help walking off the field after he was struck. He has plenty of swelling and will need crutches to move around in the meantime, but he won't need surgery.

After the bone has healed, he'll need time to work his arm back into pitching shape, which could push the timetable into September.

''You can speculate that. We all know that there's a process of getting a pitcher back in shape to pitch,'' manager Paul Molitor said Saturday.

Hughes, who is 1-7 with a 5.95 ERA, was recently demoted to the bullpen. With the Twins already a lost cause this season, there would be a question later this summer once Hughes has healed whether bringing him back in 2016 would be worth the risk. General manager Terry Ryan balked at the notion of shutting down Hughes, who has three years and $39.6 million remaining on his contract after this season.

''I'm not one for that. I don't want to rush anything and I certainly don't want him not being competitive, but if all that is place, then, yeah,'' Ryan said.

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