The Phils could be without their big bat for a while.
After being hit by a pitch, Ryan Howard made his way to second base after a single into right field by Ben Francisco. Howard thought, if just for a second, that he might be able to make it to third, and began rounding second.
He realized his mistake in time as the ball was just about to reach second base, and made an attempt to jump back to second with his left leg extended.
His efforts worked as he reached second base safely, but his ankle gave out and twisted underneath him. Howard immediately fell to his knees and even the people of Washington in Nationals Park were silent as trainers and Charlie Manuel came out to attend to the injured first baseman.
Manuel and the Phillies' trainer looked at him for a little while before tossing an arm over each of them and helping him limp off the field. Cody Ransom came in as a pinch-runner and Howard's replacement at first base, and the Nationals fans gave Howard a classy round of applause.
But right now, everyone in Philadelphia is thinking the same thing: here we go again.
Through all the injuries, whether they be to stars like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Shane Victorino, or other guys like Placido Polanco, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, or Chad Durbin, Howard has been the one constant in the lineup.
However, if the injury is as bad as it looked, that could change.
I've personally suffered the same type of injury, or at least suffered an injury in the same circumstance heading back to second base. When he plants that ankle and locks it, he still has the rest of his body weight coming and it all forces itself right onto his ankle.
When it happened to me, I sprained my ankle and had a partially torn tendon. Hopefully Howard avoided such an injury and only rolled it, but it certainly looked a lot more serious than that.
If Howard is out for any extended amount of time or if he has to hit the DL, it's going to really set this team back and leave them without a true clean-up hitter. Ross Gload would likely take over at first and Jayson Werth would probably assume the fourth spot in the lineup.
Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but that's what I would expect to see for at least the next couple of games.