The Washington Times - May 31, 2013, 03:49PM

ATLANTA — Despite the relative optimism of manager Davey Johnson on Thursday, Bryce Harper was out of the Nationals’ starting lineup for the fifth straight game as they opened a three-game set with the Atlanta Braves on Friday evening.

Harper hit and did some running in the outfield on Thursday but he was unsure if he would be able to play this weekend and even Johnson admitted after watching him hit that he still looked a little gimpy.

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Bursitis in Harper’s left knee has kept the Nationals’ outfielder out of the lineup for the last four games and forced him to miss two others on the team’s previous road trip. The issue, it is believed, stems from Harper’s violent collision with the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. 

The Nationals, at this point, are just waiting for the swelling in Harper’s knee to go down and the pain to subside a bit. An MRI showed no structural damage to the knee. 

The Nationals are 2-9 without Harper in the lineup this season.

Here are the full lineups for Friday night’s game:

Nationals

Denard Span CF
Steve Lombardozzi LF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Roger Bernadina RF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Stephen Strasburg P

Braves

Jason Heyward CF
Ramiro Pena SS
Justin Upton RF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Evan Gattis LF
Brian McCann C
Dan Uggla 2B
Chris Johnson 3B
Julio Teheran P