While becoming an All-Star is a great honor, what a player does in the game could leave a lasting impact on his legacy.
USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON — The pall that is currently hovering over the Chicago Cubs is ever present, as reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant had to be helped from the field on Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals.
After the game, manager Joe Maddon revealed that Bryant suffered a “mild to moderate ankle sprain” and that the X-rays came back negative. It is still unclear whether the injury will be severe enough to land Bryant on the disabled list.
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“I honestly don’t think (‘what’s next?’),” Maddon said. “… It’s just unfortunate. Hopefully it’s just gonna be a couple days. The way I look at it is, you know, get him off his feet literally for a couple days and I still believe it’s gonna benefit us in August in September.”
The injury occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Bryant caught a fly ball in foul territory, only to plant his right leg awkwardly on the third base bag and come away limping.
While Bryant was able to put pressure on his leg briefly, he eventually needed to be assisted off the field by two trainers and exited the game with the Nationals leading 7-3. When Bryant went to the clubhouse it appeared that he was struggling to put any weight on the ankle.
Bryant has become just another major contributor for the Cubs who may miss time, as Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Kyle Hendricks and Brett Anderson are all currently on the disabled list.
Maddon said Jeimer Candelario could take Bryant’s spot at third base for Thursday’s final matchup with the Nationals, or he would consider shifting Javier Baez to third if Addison Russell is able to return.
But Bryant’s loss for any stretch would be detrimental to the Cubs.
Bryant entered Wednesday with a team-leading .264 batting average, .393 on-base percentage and .908 on-base-plus-slugging, along with 16 home runs and 32 RBI. On top of that, Bryant’s 2.6 offensive WAR is good for another team high.
Regardless of when Bryant can make his return, Maddon isn’t making any excuses for the defending World Series champions’ struggles as of late.
“I grew up in the minor leagues, man,” he said. “Things happen and you have to fix them when things happen. You don’t cry. Of course (it’s) suboptimal, no question.
“But when you come up the way I’ve come up – A-ball manager, AA manager – stuff happens and you’ve gotta react and you can’t worry about it, you can’t cry about it.”