When Bryce Harper went down with an apparent thumb injury during Saturday night's contest against the San Diego Padres, any hope from the previous month's momentum was ripped from the hearts of baseball fans in the Delaware Valley.
After the game, x-rays came back positive, Harper's thumb was indeed broken.
Speculation on a timetable for his injury ranged from a five-week absence to season-ending. The worst case scenario seemed like surgery.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported Tuesday morning that Harper will undergo surgery to stabilize his broken thumb, but the Philadelphia Phillies are optimistic his recovery will take only six weeks.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber, Harper is set to receive the surgery on Wednesday. A six-week absence will also require a minor league rehab stint, adding approximately an extra week of recovery time.
So, the current best case scenario for the Phillies looks like seven to eight weeks from the date of June 29. That puts a Harper return date sometime in the week of August 16-23.
This shouldn't be a death knell for the Phillies' season though. In 2007, Philadelphia was in a very similar position when the Washington Nationals' John Lannan broke Chase Utley's hand, resulting in a month-long stint on the disabled list. The Phillies were 52-49 at the time of injury, but managed to win 89 games that season en route to an NL East division title and their first playoff appearance in 14 seasons.
Harper will certainly miss more time than Utley missed in 2007, but the Phillies have the pieces to compete even without him in the lineup. Current right fielder Nick Castellanos will spend more time at DH, keeping his sub-par glove out of the outfield and allowing new defense-first acquisition Oscar Mercado to patrol centerfield at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies will miss Harper's bat these next two months, there's no doubting that, but with their star player hopefully slated for return by season's end, the Phillies have the capability to weather the storm.
More From SI's Inside The Phillies:
- How Mike Trout Will Join the Phillies
- Andrew Painter is Off to a Historic Start
- Could The Phillies Soon Be Playing in Wawa Park?
- 18-Year-Old Phillies Prospect is Making History
- How did Philadelphia end up with Citizens Bank Park?
- How the Phillie Phanatic Came to be America's Favorite Sports Mascot
- This Unlikely Draft Pick Could be the Final Piece in the Phillies Next Blockbuster Trade
- "The Family Was More Nervous Than Him," Stott’s Relatives on Debut
- Picking the Phillies' All-Time Single Season Lineup
- Drawing Comparisons to Harper, Phillies Prospect Wilson is Heating Up