Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper suffers brutal injury after slipping on first base

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Harper injured his knee when he slipped on first base in the first inning of a rain-delayed game against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

Saturday's home game began just after 10 p.m. ET, following a three-hour rain delay, and it was raining steadily when Harper's injury happened. Assuming Harper doesn't hit any snags in the rehab process, he could be looking at a return to the field sometime in mid- to late September.

Haper stayed on the ground in serious pain, and had to be helped off the field.

Washington is a head-turning 14.5 games ahead of the Miami Marlins in the National League East and appears comfortably on its way to the postseason. Of course, the Washington Nationals have had their fair share of those kinds of injuries this year when Adam Eaton tore his ACL in late April trying to beat out an infield single against the Mets. Hitting coach Rick Schu and trainer Paul Lessard then helped Harper off the field, with Manager Dusty Baker trailing.

Now, it looks like Harper could eveen be back this season if all goes well.

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If Harper is out, it's a more devastating injury to the Nationals' World Series hopes than when Ramos' season ended prematurely a year ago.

One of the leaders in the NL MVP race, Harper was hitting.326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBI this season. Harper avoided any ligament or tendon damage. He threw a lot of pitches.

The San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals will play a split doubleheader on Sunday after their series opener Friday night was postponed. Andrew Stevenson replaced Harper in the team's lineup. "I'm very optimistic that he'll be at least fine shortly", Baker said.

The Nationals won the clash against the Giants with a 3-1 triumph.

Stratton was reinstated from the disabled list and notched his second straight no-decision while making his second career major league start on Saturday against Arizona.

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