Washington Nationals: 5 x-factors for Daniel Murphy in 2018

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run double against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth innin gin game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run double against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth innin gin game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) /
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Health

Shortly after the Nats were eliminated, they announced that Murphy had been playing with a knee injury that required surgery. He eventually underwent microfracture surgery to repair damage to the articular cartilage in his right knee, which could potentially force him to miss the start of the season.

At WinterFest, Murphy was relying on crutches to get around and sat as much as possible. He no longer needs the crutches, but is still rehabbing.

Now, Murphy is at spring training as a limited participant. He is getting his work in, but most of his drills have been done on his knees. For example, he has been spotted fielding ground balls on his knees and taking one-handed swings off of a tee while on his knees.

Despite the fact that Murphy is still limited, Dave Martinez insists that he will be ready for Opening Day. However, recovery from microfracture surgery typically ranges from six months to a year, which would presumably rule him out for the start of the season.

Regardless of Murphy’s Opening Day status, his knee will be something to keep an eye on throughout the year.

There is no doubt that he can return to full strength, but he may benefit from additional days off. Playing nearly everyday is taxing on any player, but this is especially true of players recovering from surgery.

Murphy’s health is not a major concern, but is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

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