The Philadelphia Phillies were dealt a massive blow when star outfielder Bryce Harper was placed on the injured list with a broken thumb after he was hit on the hand during a game against the San Diego Padres. Harper was initially expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, but the team never provided a set timetable. Per the latest Phillies rumors, there may be reason to believe that Harper could return sooner. Sports Illustrated has the latest.

According to Jon Heyman's latest column for the New York Post, Harper is visiting his surgeon next week with the hope that the pins can be removed and he can continue his rehab on schedule.

There is still no set timetable for Harper's return, but it's a telling sign that the Phillies never moved him off the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL. They may secretly believe that Harper can return by late-August.

As Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported, Bryce Harper has a visit planned with his surgeon next week. There is hope that he'll have the pins removed from his hand, allowing him to continue his rehab on schedule.

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However, the latest Phillies rumors lend optimism to the fact that Harper may return sooner. The club kept him on the 10-day injured list, never transferring him to the 60-day. It might be something or it might be nothing.

It is something at least worth noting, as it could mean that the Phillies believe a quicker return is at least a possibility. Fans will be hoping that's the case, as a healthy Bryce Harper could help propel the team to the postseason, so long as they stay in the race until then.