Jason Heyward Out 4-6 Weeks With Fractured Jaw

:( - Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves will be without their young star right fielder for at least a month.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Jason Heyward has a fractured jaw, and will be out for the next 4-6 weeks. Heyward was caught right under the ear flap of his helmet by an errant Jon Niese fastball in this afternoon's game, and immediately crumpled to the ground. He would eventually walk off the field under his own power, but not before spitting blood out of his mouth. SB Nation has a .gif of the pitch here, but it's not for the faint of heart.

Mark Bowman was the first to report on the injury. Dave O'Brien later added that Heyward's jaw had been fractured in two different places.

4 to 6 weeks seems like an appropriate timetable for return. Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby was out for about a month after fracturing his jaw from a puck to the face late last season.

The injury comes at an awful time, as Heyward was arguably the team's hottest hitter over the past few months. Now Atlanta's lost its leadoff man and second most valuable defender for at least a month. The good news is that the team is basically on autopilot right now, and even losing Heyward shouldn't dampen Atlanta's hold on the NL East. The NLDS starts exactly 6 weeks from today. Let's hope Jason's ready to go by then.


Update, 8/22:

Jim Powell delivered some wonderful news on Thursday afternoon. J-Hey did not have to have his mouth wired shut during surgery, meaning he'll be able to eat food.

One of the biggest concerns about the injury was how much weight Jason would lose if placed on a liquids-only diet. If a guy who's 6'5 and 240 pounds is only eating yogurt and protein shakes for a month, he's going to lose his form. Hopefully he's able to keep his weight up while recovering the next 4-6 weeks.

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