The use of .gif files online has become increasingly popular, particularly in the sports world. Somewhere between a photo and a video, a .gif captures a handful of seconds of recorded action and plays it over and over on an endless loop. It usually has a comedic effect; a popular one that emerged Tuesday, though, showed nothing but sadness.

In it, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey is seen being consoled by catcher John Buck during a game Monday night — not long after Harvey learned his season is over because of a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. Harvey, a bright spot in another down year for the Mets and this year's NL starter in the All-Star game, looks exceedingly glum. News that Buck had been traded to the Pirates on Tuesday only adds to the moment.

Harvey is doing his best to be optimistic, going as far as tweeting on Tuesday this message: "Thank you everyone for the kind words and support. I may be done this year, but I will be back next year for April 1."

The Mets aren't making any proclamations about the future until another MRI is performed in the coming weeks. The dreaded Tommy John surgery is certainly a possibility; if that happened, Harvey would miss the vast majority of 2014, if not all of it, based on the comeback timeline.

We have become very well-versed in that particular surgery here in Minnesota. Kyle Gibson had it. Andrew Albers had it. Mike Pelfrey had it. And most importantly in terms of comparison to Harvey, Francisco Liriano had it.

Liriano's magnificent 2006 rookie season was cut short and eventually ended in Tommy John surgery. He never has been as dominant as he was that season, even this year with Pittsburgh.

Stephen Strasburg hurt his elbow at nearly the same point in the 2010 season as Harvey did this season. He missed 2011, came back strong on an innings limit a year ago and is full-tilt for the Nationals this year.

That's what Harvey is potentially facing: The prospect of not having a season without innings restrictions until 2016. And who knows how well he will pitch?

No wonder he looked so glum, over and over and over again.

Michael Rand