Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper’s injury less severe than feared

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Bryce Harper couldn’t put any weight on his left leg when he was helped off the field, the worst-case scenario certainly seemed realistic.

Harper walking up the stairs provided some hope, and an MRI revealed what the Washington Nationals hope is season-saving news. General manager Mike Rizzo said Harper has a “significant” bone bruise in his left knee but avoided the kind of ligament or tendon damage that would have put a pin in the team’s World Series aspirations.

There’s no definitive timeline for Harper to return, but Rizzo is hopeful the star outfielder and NL MVP candidate will be back before the end of the season.

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

The 2015 MVP is hitting .326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs in 106 games this season.