The Atlanta Braves have been struck by the injury bug this season but still reside in second place in the National League East. They're still considered a powerhouse though, as they're in line to be in playoff contention late in the season. And now their chances may drastically improve, as the latest Austin Riley injury update is great news for Atlanta.

Reports indicate that Riley no longer feels pain in his side after suffering from an intercostal inflammation, per Braves beat writer Justin Toscano. Austin Riley is expected to start swinging the bat again relatively soon.

“Austin Riley (intercostal inflammation) did not feel anything in his side today. Riley should start swinging pretty soon, it would seem.”

The Braves' star third baseman is still a little ways away from returning. However, this is great news for Austin Riley. He's one of the best players in the league and is a monster at the plate. Having his bat back in the lineup could be enough for Atlanta to chase down the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East. Before falling to injury, Austin Riley was recording a .245 batting average, three home runs, and 18 RBIs.

Riley avoided the injured list and hasn't played since May 12. Although he is going to end up missing 10 or more games the Braves didn't think an IL stint was necessary for their superstar third baseman. But the fact he should be swinging soon suggests Austin Riley will be back in the lineup before the end of May.

Braves World Series chances

Austin Riley
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The Braves last won a World Series back in 2021 and are trying to win another championship with relatively the same roster. It'll be difficult without Spencer Strider, as he's one of the best pitchers in the league when healthy. But Atlanta might have to lean on the offense more than the pitching moving forward.

If that's the case then the Braves should at least be in the mix for the postseason. Ronald Acuña Jr. is an absolute stud and Austin Riley is right there with him. Once Riley returns the offense should be in full force once again. But overall, this is a club that has potential of playing the World Series despite losing Spencer Strider for the season.

Atlanta's biggest challenge will be taking down the Phillies. Philadelphia currently holds a 4.5 game lead over the Braves. But there is still plenty of time remaining in the regular season. The Braves can certainly get back to the top of the NL East and a 4.5 game deficit isn't huge in baseball.

However, if Atlanta can't re-claim first place of their division they must make sure to have a record good enough to participate as a Wild Card team. It'll be a tight race all season long but you can never rule out the Braves. Especially with how many stars are on the roster.