When Kris Bryant had to leave the Chicago Cubs’ game on Thursday after turning his ankle, there were more than a few Cubs fans who were afraid his season might be over.
Worrying about Kris Bryant and his season because of a turned ankle might seem like an overreaction, but if you don’t think there was a reason to fear, you’ve never been a Cubs fan. It was just a few weeks ago that Bryant’s teammate in Kyle Schwarber had his season come to end when he tore both his ACL and MCL in his knee.
Schwarber’s injury came when he collided with Dexter Fowler while trying to catch a fly ball. The collision certainly looked nastier than what happened to Bryant, but after that collision, Cubs fans were optimistic because x-rays didn’t turn up any breaks. Some Cubs fans hoped the MRI would become nothing more than strains and Schwarber would be out for a couple of weeks. Unlike the results for Kris Bryant, it turns out the outfielder/catcher lovingly referred to as “The Hulk” is done until 2017.
Knowing all of that, the reports that Bryant was going to get his own MRI on Friday morning had Cubs fans chomping at the bit in order to find out the results, which were about as positive as anyone could hope. Bleacher Nation confirms the MRI came back with nothing more than a mild strain on his lower right leg. While Bryant won’t be playing in the Cubs’ Friday afternoon game against the Atlanta Braves, he also isn’t expected to appear on the disabled list. Chicago getting their budding star and former Rookie of the Year back inside of two weeks is good news for a team that is off to an incredibly hot start.
Bryant has played a significant part in one of the best offenses in the National League and the team with the best record in baseball at 16-5. The Chicago Cubs have been able to live quite well without Schwarber, but the additional loss of Bryant for any length of time would certainly be a blow. Bryant’s injury came one day after the Cubs had to place starting catcher Miguel Montero on the 15-day disabled list. CBS Local reports Bryant won’t play for the next couple of days, but the third baseman isn’t going to miss any more than a week.
Setbacks have happened before, of course, and it’s possible it will take longer for Kris Bryant to get back to where he was before the injury than expected. That said, the lack of a tear is always going to make Cubs fans celebrate. Even if Bryant had to sit out a few weeks, it would be quite a bit better than the alternative.
Chicago also has the luxury of knowing they have yet another up-and-coming phenom in Javier Baez to fill in. When he’s not taking Bryant’s spot in the lineup, Tommy LaStella can man the hot corner. After spending a few years battling injuries himself, LaStella is hitting 0.375 in the early going this season.
This isn’t to say Chicago won’t miss Kris Bryant’s bat, but with a series against the Braves, they won’t need Kris in the middle of the order as badly as they might against a team like the Cardinals. The team is likely hoping Kris Bryant is only going to miss the weekend series against the team with the worst record in baseball. While fans in Chicago can now breathe a sigh of relief, it’s time for the waiting game to begin. Fans of the team will just have to wait and see how long Kris Bryant is going to be sitting out before they can feel like they dodged a bullet.
[Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]