The jury was out for weeks.
What was the solution to Bryce Harper's partially torn UCL?
Perhaps he could have a minimally invasive surgery, like what Rhys Hoskins had in September of 2020 to repair his partially torn UCL.
Just six months after that procedure, Hoskins was back in the Opening Day lineup. It took him fewer than six months to get fully healthy and re-join the spring training lineup.
That hope was forlorn though. On Wednesday, Harper had full Tommy John surgery with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Apparently, the surgery went "very well" according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Salisbury further postulates that Harper could be back hitting competitively by mid-May.
That's a recovery timeline of six-months. It seems unlikely Harper will take the field again until 2024, but his role will remain the same with the Philadelphia Phillies as it did in their pennant-winning 2022.
How well Harper may still be able to field by 2024 as a 32-year-old remains to be seen, but his defense will still be valued higher than Nick Castellanos'.
The prime comparison for Harper is 2021 AL MVP Shohei Ohtani, who underwent Tommy John surgery in early-October 2018.
Seven months later in early-May 2019 he returned to the lineup.
Due to the nature of their jobs, it seems likely that Harper's tear is less severe than Ohtani's. So while his timeline may be the gold standard for a hitter returning to his team after such an extensive surgery, Harper could set a new track to follow.
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