Ryan Howard once again made the final out for the Phillies in a season-ending playoff loss.

But this one's impact may linger into next season.

Howard, who had to helped off the field after making the last out in Friday's 1-0 loss to St. Louis, tore his Achilles tendon in his left ankle, an MRI confirmed on Saturday. The injury certainly raises the possibility that Howard may not be in the opening day lineup, if not worse.

"He cannot have surgery until the swelling resolves, and it has not been determined who will perform the surgery," the Phillies said in a statement. "Recovery time won't be known until after the surgery is complete, and there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training."

 

Howard was in intense pain after Friday's game and teammates had to help him get dressed.

"I was trying to run and just felt this pop," said Howard. "I tried to keep going and went down. It literally felt like I was on a flat tire. I couldn't get up."

Howard had already been dealing with an assortment of foot injuries, including bursitis. The slugger thinks he hurt his Achilles on his final swing, when his bat slammed into his ankle.

"It was one of those freak things," Howard said. "I think it was flexed coming out of the box."

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