Minor knee surgery turns major; Holden to miss most or all of Premier League season.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, October 17, 2011) -- United States midfielder Stuart Holden, who battled all the way back from a serious knee injury suffered last March to return to Bolton Wanderers' lineup, saw most or all of his 2011-12 English Premier League campaign end with an aggravation of the same ailment.
Holden, 26, was having a terrific year for Bolton and was among its most valuable players when last March 19 he was the victim of a studs-up challenge from Manchester United defender Jonny Evans. Holden's bone could seen through the severe gash in his right knee.
"It's only a cut. It'll be okay." Holden said via Twitter, but the injury was far more severe. His kneecap was fractured and surgery ended his season.
Hard work allowed Holden to recover and on September 20, he made it back into Wanderers' lineup in a Carling Cup third-round match at Aston Villa, Holden went 90 minutes and helped set up Bolton's opening goal in the 2-0 victory.
Holden's sent a long pass to Chris Eagles, who converted for a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute. Bolton fans chanted "Stu-S-A" in appreciation for his return.
"Can't tell you how good it felt to be back on the field," Holden tweeted. "Thank you to everyone that has supported me over the last six months. It's been a long and testing journey at times, but all the hard work has paid off and I am genuinely grateful every time I put on the shirt."
Holden was experiencing pain in the right knee and doctors suggested he would need minor surgery to clean it up after the season. As the pain continued, the operation was moved up to last week and doctors found cartilage damage that required major surgery, sidelining him for at least six months.
"It is a big, big blow for Stuart, because he has worked so hard after he sustained the injury, but obviously the most important aspect is to ensure Stuart's well being and that's what we are focused on," Bolto manager Owen Coyle said on the club's eeb site. "He went in for the procedure (in the) afternoon and it was picked up that the cartilage was damaged and needed to be repaired, which has now happened, and we will now support Stuart as he begins his recovery."
An optimistic assessment has Holden missing the remainder of the Premier season, but back just ahead of the U.S.'s first CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in June. Even then, it would be questionable whether he could regain the necessary fitness.
"Floored, devastated, gutted, just a few words I can think of," Holden tweeted. "I will continue to fight and I'm ready for another tough journey. Not looking 4 sympathy, but rather your support as I get through another setback. I look forward to keeping you updated over the next 6 months as I beat the odds once again."
Holden's first major injury came on March 3, 2010 when he broke a leg playing for the U.S. men agains the Netherlands. He missed six weeks, but recovered in time the make the American 2010 World Cup team.
Holden's early injury history reminds some of the career of U.S. midfielder John O'Brien. O'Brien, who was touted by some as the finest American player ever produced, starred at age 19 for Ajax of Amsterdam when it was one of the super clubs in Europe in the late 1990s. He was a star for the U.S. in the 2002 World Cup, but a devastating series of injuries prematurely ended his career long before he reached his full potential.
In the Premier League, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard made a pair of saves for Everton Saturday , but the Toffees were soundly beaten 3-1 by Chelsea. American keeper Marcus Hahnemann, still trying to win the backup role at Everton, did not dress.
American keeper Brad Friedel had a bit better an afternoon on Sunday, making four saves for Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United.
U.S. attacker Clint Dempsey went 90 minutes for Fulham in a 2-0 loss Saturday to Stoke City.
American Brad Guzan was the backup keeper for Aston Villa's in its 4-1 loss to Manchester City on Saturday. American defender Eric Lichaj has an injured hip and was not available to Villa.
American defender Zak Whitbreadm with an ailing hamstring, was sidelined for Norwich City, which recorded a 3-1 decision Saturday over Swansea City.
In the second-division English League Championship, U.S. striker Robbie Findley played the final 15 minutes for Nottingham Forest, a 1-0 loser Saturday to Coventry City.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector dressed, but did not play Sunday for Birmingham City in a 2-0 win over Leicester City.
American forward Conor Doyle dressed, but remained on the Derby County bench Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Southampton.
In the third-tier League One, American midfielder Anton Peterlin went the distance for Walsall, which edged Preston North End 1-0 on Saturday.
American striker Mike Grella finally got some meaningful playing time, going the final 25 minutes Saturday for Brentford in a 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe United.
American defender Frank Simek's ailing hip flexor sidelined him for Carlisle United and its 3-0 victory Saturday over Yeovil Town.
In Scotland's Premier League, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra played 90 minutes for Glasgow Rangers in a 1-1 draw Saturday with St. Mirren. U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu also started and played 72 minutes, but the pair's U.S. teammate, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya did not dress for Rangers
In the German Bundesliga, U.S. defender Timmy Chandler played 90 minutes for 1. FC Nürnberg in its 2-1 loss Saturday to VfL Wolfsburg.
U.S. defender Danny Williams, who looked good in his recent debut with the U.S. men, started and went 62 minutes for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in its 2-0 setback Saturday to VfB Stuttgart. American midfielder-defender Fabian Johnson has an injured neck and was not available for Hoffenheim.
American midfielder Alfredo Morales played the final 29 minutes for Hertha Berlin in a 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich on Saturday.
U.S> midfielder Jermaine Jones, working hard to return to his club's good graces, played the second half Saturday for Schalke 04 in a 2-1 loss to Kaiserslautern.
Travel-weary U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo was held Sunday out by Hannover 96 from its 2-0 loss to FC Cologne.
American David Yelldell was Bayer Leverkusen's backup keeper Saturday in its 2-2 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
In the second-division 2. Bundesliga, U.S. striker Edson Buddle came off the bench and played 15 minutes for FC Ingolstadt 04, which dropped a 3-1 decision Saturday to MSV Duisburg.
American forward Bobby Wood played the final two minutes for 1860 Munich in a 2-0 loss Friday to Hansa Rostock.
American keeper Luis Robles was the backup for Karlsruher SC in a 2-0 loss to FC Union Berlin on Saturday.
American striker Matt Taylor dressed, but did not play for SC Paderborn 07 in its 1-0 victory Friday over Eintracht Braunschweig.
U.S. midfielder Ricardo Clark did not dress for Eintracht Frankfurt, a 2-0 winner over Bochum on Friday.
Young American defender Gale Agbossoumonde has finally gotten on the field for Eintracht Frankfurt's under-23 team which plays in the Germany's fourth-tier Regionalliga Süd. He played the final 10 minutes of a 2-1 triumph over SGS Großaspach.
As a non-European Union player, the 19-year-old Agbossoumonde had to be cleared for play by the German Soccer Federation, which only happened less than two weeks ago.
In Portugal, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu, also tired from traveling to represent the U.S. men, started and played the first half for Sporting Lisbon in its 2-0 triumph over Famalicao Saturday in the Portuguese Cup third round.
In Italy, U.S. defensive midfielder Michael Bradley went the distance, receiving a yellow card, for a solid Chievo Verona defense in a 0-0 draw Sunday with powerful Juventus.
In the Netherlands, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore played the first 72 minutes for AZ Alkmaar in a 2-2 draw with Ajax on Saturday.
In Belgium, U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan went 90 minutes for Anderlecht in its surprisingly easy 5-0 victory Sunday over Standard de Liège.
In Norway, American midfielder Mikkel Diskerud went the distance for Stabæk IF in a 1-1 draw Saturday with Lillestrom.
American defender Josh Gatt lasted only 13 minutes for Molde FK in its 0-0 draw Sunday with Odd Grenland. He received a blow to the thigh and was removed as a precaution. American defender Sean Cunningham did not dress for Molde.
In Denmark, U.S. defender Clarence Goodson went the distance for Brøndby IF Sunday in a 1-0 loss to FC Midtjylland.
American defender Brad Rusin played the final half hour for HB Køge, which fell 3-1 Sunday to SønderjyskE.
American playmaker Conor O'Brien played only the final five minutes for SønderjyskE, but it was long enough to be shown a yellow card.
U.S. defender Michael Parkhurst went 90 minutes for FC Nordsjælland, a 1-0 winner Saturday over Aalborg BK. U.S. striker Chris Rolfe went the distance for Aalborg, while injured midfielder Marcus Tracy remained on the sidelines.
In Sweden, American defender-midfielder Ryan Miller did not dress for Halmstads BK, a 3-1 loser to Djurgardens IF on Monday.
American forward Samuel Petrone did not dress for Mjallby AIF in its 2-1 decision Sunday over Trelleborg FF.
In Mexico, U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley played 90 minutes for Puebla in its 1-0 victory Sunday over Queretaro.
American striker Herculez Gomez, for the second match in a row, came off the bench and scored a goal for Estudiantes Tecos while playing the final 22 minutes, this time in a 5-2 loss to Chivas of Guadalajara on Saturday.
U.S. midfielder Jose Torres, recovering from a foot injury, was not available to Pachuca, which went on to suffer a 3-2 loss Saturday to Club Tijuana.
U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein dressed, but did not play for Tigres UANL in its 2-0 loss Friday to Morelia.
Michael Orozco Fiscal dressed, but did not play for San Luis in a 1-1 draw Saturday with Cruz Azul.
American left flank defender Edgar Castillo did not dress Saturday for Club America in its 3-0 victory over Monterrey.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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