Latest from Mark Zuckerman on Harper's knee injury
With his superstar outfielder set to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his swollen left knee the following day, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke calmly about his expectations for the diagnosis before Sunday's doubleheader. According to Rizzo, there is no reason to fear the worst regarding Bryce Harper and that getting a look by Andrews is just business as usual for an injury of his sort.
“There’s no worry about it,” Rizzo said. “It is our protocol that players get a second opinion on any part of the body that we feel is a disabled list type of injury. Guys get second opinions all the time here, and every guy that we put on the disabled list has gotten a second opinion.”
Rizzo compared Harper to other players on the team, pointing out that the process is no different.
“We send them to our team physician, he makes his diagnosis, we start the rehab, and we get a second opinion … that’s our protocol. This is no different than we [Strasburg] went out, when Detwiler went out, it’s the same thing.”
Still, hearing the name ‘Dr. Andrews’ and any star player will shake fans in their boots. Rizzo understands what goes along with that association, but says it shouldn’t be any more worrisome than if it were another doctor.
“Well James Andrews, we utilize him for our knees,” he said. “When there was a hand injury, we didn’t send him to James Andrews, we sent him to a hand specialist for a second opinion. That didn’t make any headlines, but it’s protocol.”
Harper has been out since May 26 after aggravating the knee sliding into third base against the Phillies. He also fouled a ball off the knee in the same game.
Harper’s condition has since been described as bursitis, the swelling of the bursa sac in his left knee. Rizzo said the swelling has gone down and Harper is coming along well.
“His knee, the swelling was significantly lessened yesterday when I saw him,” Rizzo said. “The doctor likes the progress, so we’re upbeat about it and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Harper is leaving to see Dr. Andrews Sunday night with an appointment Monday morning. He will then rejoin the Nats on the road to continue his rehab.
Rizzo on Danny Espinosa's fractured right wrist:
"There are certain injuries that it is not going to worsen the case by letting him play through it. The bone has healed, it’s structurally sound. There’s a chip in there, but cortisone will relieve the pain and inflammation. We shut him down to rest and once the inflammation is totally gone he will start his baseball progression. There’s no further damage that can be done to the wrist and we felt that, with Dr. [Wiemi] Douogiuh and Dr. [Ken] Means feel that he should be able to participate. He may never need an operation on his wrist."
"The bone is healed, it’s structurally healed, and after he rests and rehabs he should be back to normal. Now, there’s a chip in there. We’ll decide after the season if the chip should be removed. We’ll decide that after the season."
On whether wrist has hampered Espinosa's play:
"I think that’s a question for him. How much did it affect his playing capabilities, I don’t know. All we can do is when a player says he’s healthy, he can play, and our doctors say he’s healthy enough to play. Our decision is, let him play. The rotator cuff is an injury that should not curtail his performance whatsoever. He is one of 90 percent of players in this clubhouse that has had some sort of rotator cuff issue. If you play this game long enough, you’re going to have some type of rotator cuff issue."