On a night the Cubs could have locked up the National League Central, they nearly lost one of their best defensive players in the process.

Running full speed trying to track down a ball in the gap in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 8-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Almora Jr. toe-picked the warning track dirt and collided hard into the wall, landing awkwardly on his shoulder.

He stayed down for a while before exiting the game under his own power, and it was hard not to think of the worst in that moment.

But Almora and the team received encouraging news afterwards, with X-rays turning out to be negative and the 23-year-old outfielder suffering nothing more than a bruise.

"Honestly, I thought I shattered my shoulder, the way it felt," Almora told reporters after the game. "I guess I don't have a good tolerance for pain, but at that moment I was just scared. ... The thought that my season could have been over and I couldn't help the guys any more, that's the scary part. 

"Once they told me the X-rays were negative — and I saw it myself —I'm a new person. I had a smile on my face, I was moving around andI felt like going back out there. But it's all good."

Phewf. Bullet, dodged.