Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper avoided structural damage in his injured left knee but the All-Star will be out indefinitely because of a significant bone bruise, the team announced Sunday.
Harper left Washington's 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night in the first inning after his left foot slipped on the wet first base bag as he tried to beat out a groundball to first baseman Ryder Jones.
General manager Mike Rizzo told reporters Sunday an MRI revealed that Harper does not have any ligament or tendon damage in his injured left knee, and the Nationals are optimistic he will return before the end of the season.
"We dodged a bullet here," said Rizzo, who emphasized the Nationals will be cautious in Harper's recovery process. "We're optimistic we'll see him this season."
The Nationals placed Harper on the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended left knee.
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.
After slipping on the first base bag, Harper's leg buckled as he went airborne and fell to the ground. Harper clutched at his knee while on the wet field and put no weight on his left leg as he was helped off.
The stadium went silent and manager Dusty Baker feared the worst.
"The same reaction everybody had -- silence goes over the crowd," Baker said after Saturday night's game. "You're just thinking, 'Please, Lord, don't let it be serious.'"
On the play, Jones fielded the ball and beat Harper to the bag as pitcher Jeff Samardzija raced over to cover the bag just in case. Harper fell to the ground and held his left knee for several minutes after making the second out.
The 24-year-old Harper, the 2015 National League MVP, is having another outstanding season, hitting .326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs in 106 games this season.