Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper will undergo surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow next week, team president Dave Dombrowski told reporters Wednesday, though it was not immediately clear how long the recovery timeline will be.
Harper is set for surgery Nov. 23 for a tear to the UCL that he initially suffered in April. The injury prevented him from playing in the field the rest of the season. The 30-year-old received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow in May and shifted to the designated hitter role.
It was not yet known whether Harper will undergo Tommy John surgery, Dombrowski said.
“We have no prognosis, really, until [the surgeon] goes into the elbow and takes a look at it,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll have something at that time with the surgery and the anticipation something will happen. I think it will slow him down for the season. We’ll know more next week.”
Harper was the Phillies’ DH throughout the majority of the season, including in the playoffs, where he shined. He hit .400 in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves and .500 in the NL Championship Series against the San Diego Padres before slowing down in the World Series. He hit .200 as the Phillies lost in six games to the Houston Astros.
Harper met this week with prominent orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, forcing the planned surgery.
“We always knew that was a possibility. We’ve known that for months,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski said Harper’s availability for Opening Day and the early part of next season may not necessarily affect his decision-making in the offseason. Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and even catcher J.T. Realmuto could play DH.
“You don’t ever want to lose Bryce, you really don’t,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Wednesday. “While we will be missing him, and looking forward to getting him back, it’ll give somebody else an opportunity.”
Information from ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press was used in this report.