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Bryant day to day after rolling ankle on third

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

WASHINGTON -- The Cubs will know Thursday whether they need to add Kris Bryant to the growing list of players on the disabled list.

The reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner, Bryant had to leave Wednesday night's 8-4 loss to the Nationals in the fifth inning with a mild to moderate right ankle sprain suffered when he stepped awkwardly on third base. X-rays were negative.

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WASHINGTON -- The Cubs will know Thursday whether they need to add Kris Bryant to the growing list of players on the disabled list.

The reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner, Bryant had to leave Wednesday night's 8-4 loss to the Nationals in the fifth inning with a mild to moderate right ankle sprain suffered when he stepped awkwardly on third base. X-rays were negative.

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Manager Joe Maddon said they have no timetable regarding Bryant's status but knew for certain that he would not play on Thursday.

"It's unfortunate," Maddon said. "Hopefully, it'll just be a couple days. ... Let's keep moving it forward and hope it's not too bad."

Video: Bryant suffers right ankle sprain in the 5th inning

Bryce Harper, who grew up in Las Vegas with Bryant, watched from the Nationals' dugout.

"Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt," Harper said. "One of the best players in baseball, you want to see him playing every single day. Hopefully, he's doing OK and well wishes to him and hopefully he'll be back out there soon."

Bryant, who had singled and doubled in his first two at-bats, caught Matt Wieters' popup for the second out in the fifth inning. But as he headed toward the infield, Bryant stepped on the corner of the third-base bag, rolled his right ankle, and immediately began limping.

Cubs athletic trainer Ed Halbur and Maddon came onto the field to check on Bryant, and then had to help the third baseman off the field. The only problem was that Maddon needed someone taller to be Bryant's other "crutch" and kept signaling to the dugout for help.

"I asked for somebody taller -- I was useless," Maddon said. "When you're trying to help a guy who's [6-feet, 5-inches tall] get off the field and you're not, I was really not the perfect crutch at the time."

Bryant, batting .264 with 16 home runs this season, has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs, who already have Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward and Kyle Hendricks on the disabled list. Zobrist, sidelined with inflammation in his left wrist, is slated to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday at Double-A Tennessee.

"When you roll an ankle, even when you play basketball, you step on somebody's sneaker, you roll it and it doesn't take a whole lot, and the awkward momentum off the base caused it," Maddon said. "I was watching closely and you could see it was more painful than you'd think. You know it can be a sprain."

Can the Cubs handle another injury?

"I grew up in the Minor Leagues, man, and things happen," Maddon said. "You have to fix things when they happen. You don't cry. Of course, it's sub-optimal, no question."

The Cubs' options at third include Javier Baez, Jeimer Candelario and Tommy La Stella. Addison Russell, who has not started since Sunday because of tenderness in his right shoulder, may be ready to return to the lineup, but Maddon said he wanted to make sure the shortstop was 100-percent ready.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant