Potentially serious moment Saturday night in Washington, as the Nationals took on the Giants (GameTracker).

Nationals franchise cornerstone Bryce Harper had to be helped off the field after suffering an apparent left knee injury. It appeared he slipped on a wet base after the game started in a rain delay, and the two teams played through on-and-off sprinkles. Here’s video:

Harper had to be carried off the field and he could not put any weight on his left leg. Needless to say, the Nationals will send him for a battery of tests to determine the severity of the injury. It does not look good, though when it comes to injuries, it’s always best to wait for the doctor’s diagnosis rather than make guesses. The team has not yet made any announcements about the injury.

Earlier this year the Nationals lost Adam Eaton on a similar play at first base. He lunged for the bag and suffered a serious knee injury that ended his season. Washington is also without Jayson Werth (foot), Ryan Raburn (trap), and Michael Taylor (oblique), so they’re running short on outfielders at the moment.

Harper, 24, is a top NL MVP candidate this season. He went into Saturday’s game hitting .327/.420/.616 with 29 doubles and 87 RBI. Harper has, simply put, been one of the best hitters in baseball this year. He’s performing like he did two years ago, when he was named NL MVP unanimously.

The Nationals have a comfortable lead in the NL East, so they don’t need Harper to win the division. This is a team with World Series aspirations, however, and if they’re going to win a championship, they’ll need Harper on the field.

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