“In retrospect, Ryan Howard should have stayed home for the weekend.
The guy Phillies manager Charlie Manuel calls the Big Piece came to the nation’s capital Friday a weary slugger, got his first night off of the season Saturday, then left Nationals Park on Sunday on crutches. His left ankle was swollen and sore enough to make him forget about the pain in his right elbow that was the consequence of John Lannan’s wayward fastball.
It could have been worse.
In a season in which 14 Phillies have gone on the disabled list, including several the team can barely live without, Manuel had to be thinking the worst as he ambled out to assist Howard, who went down while scrambling back to second base after a first-inning single by Ben Francisco.
“Actually, I thought he wrenched his knee,” Manuel said after the Phillies manufactured a 6-4 win over the Nats in 11 innings.
When a video replay showed Howard’s ankle bent at an ugly angle, the season flashed before the Phillies‘ eyes. X-rays on both the ankle and elbow showed no breaks.
In Manuel’s worst scenario, Howard might miss a couple of games in a three-game series that begins Tuesday against the Marlins in Florida.
“If anything, he’ll miss a day, or he might miss Tuesday or Wednesday, but he could very well be in the lineup Tuesday,” Manuel said.
Manuel’s assessment seemed overly optimistic, considering how badly the ankle was swollen, an ankle that has to bear about 250 pounds.
“I’m hoping not,” Howard said when asked if a stint on the DL was possible. “I guess once the swelling goes down, we’ll see what happens. It’s kind of a bad sprain. I just rolled it pretty bad. Nothing broke, so that’s good. Hopefully, maybe it’ll just be a couple days, get the swelling down and it’ll be all right.””
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