The Washington Nationals' head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz spoke to reporters after Bryce Harper's trip to see Dr. James Andrews last week and updated everyone on what the doctor had to say about the 20-year-old outfielder's knee injury, which was initially diagnosed as bursitis. "[Dr. Andrews] agreed with our original diagnosis," Kuntz said, "It's patellar bursitis. And [he agreed] that we took appropriate action. We checked out, via MRI, his knee and it's structurally sound, everything is good. All of the ligaments are in tact. No cartilage damage. Nothing [like] that. It's soft tissue in the bursa that's inflamed. After he discussed it with [team physician] Dr. Douoguih, they decided to give [Harper] a PRP and corticosteroid injection in the bursa to help reduce the inflammation."
"Since they gave him an injection and they wanted him to rest, they placed him in a knee immoblizer," Kuntz said, noting that pictures of Harper in a knee brace had surfaced on Twitter. "He didn't have surgery," the trainer said, "contrary to popular belief, it's just so he rests his knee. That's kind of like a reminder for him to stay off it. We will reevaluate him in one week's time to resume activities. So these are all good things. We want him to rest the knee that's why we put him in the immobilizer and we will reevaluate him in one week's time and if everything is a go then we will resume actiivity with him and get him going as quickly as we can."
Harper has been out of action since May 26th when the accumulated damage following two run-ins with outfield walls in Atlanta and LA and a series of incidents in which he made hard slides on the injured left knee in the outfield and on the basepaths and fouled a pitch off his knee eventually led to the decision to shut him down until the knee was fully-healed. Washington Post writer James Wagner wrote on Sunday that Davey Johnson told reporters that Harper had, "... performed some range of motion exercises and didn’t have a lot of swelling in his left knee... but did have 'a little puffiness,'" though Johnson noted that it wasn't a concern for the team.
One week after the last time he spoke to reporters, Mr. Kuntz apparently provided an update on Harper before tonight's game in Philadelphia. Here's what reporters on the scene said after the conversation:
Harper: examined today by #Nats team doctor, cleared to resume strengthening activities. Will ramp up from walk to jog to run.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) June 17, 2013
Nats trainer Lee Kuntz on Harper's treatment last week from Dr. Andrews: "All indications are, it's working."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) June 17, 2013
Nats trainer Lee Kuntz says the swelling is down in Bryce Harper's knee and he's ready to move to "ground-based activities."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) June 17, 2013
After he tries waking and jogging, as long as he continues improving, Harper will progress twd running. From there, to baseball activities.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) June 17, 2013
#Nats not comfortable putting a timetable on Harper's return, but if he keeps improving, they feel he could move through rehab quickly— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) June 17, 2013
On the year, Harper has a .287/.386/.587 line with seven doubles and 12 HRs in 44 games and 178 plate appearances. The struggling Nats' offense would certainly benefit from having their three-hole hitter back in action, but the Nationals want to make sure he's 100% before Harper returns to the field.