Kris Bryant's unlucky ankle injury sums up Cubs struggles

One year after everything seemed to go right for the Chicago Cubs, their 2017 campaign has been filled with many challenges and setbacks. Some of which have ventured into unlucky territory.

That was the case on Wednesday when reigning National League MVP Kris Bryant was helped off the field after rolling his right ankle on the third base bag after making a routine catch.

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Bryant made the play without incident, then took one ill-timed step, catching his right foot on the inside corner of the base. 

It seemed harmless at first, then not so much when Bryant struggled to put any weight on his right leg. After hobbling around for several moments, he was finally helped off the field by team trainers.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is helped off the field after rolling his right ankle on the third base bag. (AP)

Fortunately, it appears the injury is relatively minor. X-rays came back negative and the club is currently calling it a mild to moderate sprain, which means he could avoid the disabled list.

An extended absence would have been a huge blow to the Cubs. Though Bryant’s numbers are down slightly — he’s currently hitting .259 with 16 home runs and 32 RBIs — he’s still a cornerstone in the lineup and on defense, where his versatility is valuable and his play at third base is considered steady.

If there’s a silver lining to all of the Cubs drama, it’s that they are still firmly in the mix in the NL Central. They entered play on Wednesday at 39–38, which put them one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place. But even they can’t be expected to sustain a competitive record given the growing list of injuries.

The Cubs need Bryant and Anthony Rizzo on the field now more than ever with Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward also on the sidelines, in addition to the struggles that got Kyle Schwarber demoted and have Jake Arrieta searching for answers. And now they may be forced to dig deeper than we ever imagined just to stay afloat.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!