Harper’s Questions Continue | Sports daily bulletin

How will the Phillies fare without their main man? It was a big question last season that they answered by winning enough games during Harper’s absence with a broken thumb to make the postseason for the first time in a decade. But simply put, Harper was back at that point and without the stellar contributions from him, it’s doubtful the team would have made the World Series and pulled the favored Astros to six games.

Yet all that downtime for thumb healing didn’t improve Harper’s elbow problem. Now the Phillies All-Star is headed for surgery next week.

While healing times vary, it’s virtually certain that Harper won’t be ready to play on Inauguration Day. How long it will take to fully heal is a big question, as is how the team will fare without him this time around.

— Andrea Canales, Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport, [email protected].

❓Were you a Phillies fan who thought it was all over for the team when Harper broke his thumb? If yes, at what moment did he convince you otherwise? Send us an email for a chance to be featured in the newsletter.

Among several roster moves Wednesday, the Eagles signed veteran defensive tackle Linval Joseph and placed Dallas Goedert and Marlon Tuipulotu on injured reserve. Joseph considers taking over Tuipulotu’s role as Jordan Davis’ short-term replacement at the heart of the Eagles defense.

“He’s a great friend,” said Eagles defensive tackle Milton Williams of Joseph, who played 12 seasons in the NFL. “I’m just having a big one [man] like him in the middle, he’s sure to attract some attention.

Goedert suffered a shoulder injury in the loss to the Commanders. Tuipulotu’s injury was not disclosed.

Some negative numbers explain why the Eagles are no longer undefeated.

Next: The Eagles visit the Indianapolis Colts at 1 p.m. Sunday (CBS3).

The 76ers have big plans for downtown Philly. Nurturing hopes of creating a new arena complex, which would be called 76 Place, in downtown, they toured the area on Tuesday and shared their hopes of having a zoning ordinance by June.

“Once we have our zoning, we have a blueprint,” said David Adelman, the billionaire CEO of Campus Apartments and a developer who recently became a minority owner of Sixers. Adelman and Sixers CEO Tad Brown shared their vision with members of the media, and The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell was there to take it all in.

Next: The Sixers are back on the field to play against the Milwaukee Bucks (ESPN) on Friday.

The 2021-22 Flyers endured losing streak after losing streak, highlighted by a 10-game skid to start the season followed by a franchise-record 13-game barren run.

After a bright start to this season, the Flyers have suddenly lost four straight and face a critical stretch if they are to get the train back on track. Otherwise, as Giana Han writes, it could quickly turn into a case of déjà vu.

Next: The Flyers travel to Boston to face the first-ranked Bruins Thursday (7 p.m., NBCSP).

fans of Ted Lasso who were enthralled by the comedy, set in England, might conflict a bit with the World Cup group stage match pitting the United States men’s national team against the England team. The fictional character himself does not seem conflicted. He’s a part of Team USA all the way, as evidenced by a series of congratulatory messages to players on the USA roster.

Lasso hasn’t forgotten Medford Messi either, and where else would the missive to Brenden Aaronson have been published if not in Medford himself? Inquirer writer Jonathan Tannenwald went to see the banner and also spoke to Brenden’s father Rusty about the player’s journey to the World Cup.

Still feeling the World Cup fever? Ed Barkowitz has 50 Things to Know About the World Cup to get you started.

Also, for those wondering about the cost of watching Major League Soccer games next year, here’s the harm.

Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations for the Phillies, says the team has the payroll flexibility to sign another high-paying free agent. That means free-agent shortstops Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson and Carlos Correa can expect a call from the Phillies.

The Phillies’ offseason message isn’t exactly Doug Pederson’s “new normal,” writes Marcus Hayes, but it comes pretty close.

“We’re not looking really good,” manager Rob Thomson said on Wednesday. “We are looking for big ones. This will be the core of what I talk to players a lot about. We don’t want to just be good. We don’t want to be really good. We want to be great”

Writes Hayes, “OK. I’m buying.”

Also from Marcus Hayes: Nick Castellanos’ home run total dropped from 34 to 13 this season. Rhys Hoskins made 12 errors at first base. But the Phillies say Castellanos has had just a lot of distractions this year. And they say Hoskins has actually improved as a defender.

We asked you: The Eagles are going to face some tough running backs. How can they patch the holes in their rush defense? Among your answers:

I have the solution. Play Nakobe Dean with maximum security. — Andrew G.

Join Ndamukong Suh. He’s a real top tackle, so you have the option in the 3-4 and 4-3 defense when Davis comes back, you can put both in the center vacuum and have fresh legs on the ends. We are too soft in the middle. Now is also the time to give Dean a chance at linebacker. — Randy J.

The inside D-line might be one of the lightest in the league without Davis. Therefore, the Eagles may need to bolster the running defense with a mix of running blitzes and press coverage of wideouts. This way, there are more defenders around the line of scrimmage. In other words, mix in a more aggressive style. — Reggie S.

We compiled today’s newsletter using reports from Jonathan Tannenwald, Ed Barkowitz, Giana Han, Kristen Graham, Marcus Hayes, Mike Jensen, Scott Lauber, Gina Mizell, Josh Tolentino and EJ Smith.

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