[AMERICANS ABROAD] Stuart Holden, who needed 26 stitches to close up a deep knee gash suffered late in Bolton Wanderers' 1-0 loss at English Premier League leader Manchester United, will be sidelined for possibly six months. Holden got the worst in an ugly 50-50 challenge with Jonny Evans that resulted in the United defender being sent off.
Also sidelined for the USA: Hannover 96 defender Steve Cherundolo and Norwich City defender Zak Whitbread, who had just earned his first call-up and scored on Saturday against fellow American Brad Guzan. They'll miss the U.S. friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay. Holden will also miss the 2011 Gold Cup.
The verdict on Holden's knee followed further evaluation of his injury on Sunday. He was headed to London on Monday to have surgery on his knee.
"I can promise you I will come back stronger and better than before," he said on Twitter. "Have had bad luck in the past and will continue to beat it."
Holden added that he had received a "sincere phone call" from Evans wishing him the best in his recovery.
It was a little more than a year ago Holden, who had just broken into the Bolton lineup, suffered a broken leg in a challenge by Dutchman Nigel de Jong in a World Cup warmup game in Amsterdam. He was limited to a four-minute appearance against England at the World Cup, but he quickly won a starting job this season at Bolton and has been outstanding for the Trotters.
“First and foremost our main concern is Stuart and his recovery,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle said. “He will get all the time and support he needs. Stuart has been outstanding this season and has shown he is one of the best midfielders in the Barclays Premier League. He has such desire, strength of character and a winning mentality and he will draw on those attributes in his rehabilitation.”
Minutes after Holden left the game, United won the game when Dimitar Berbatov scored on a tap-in after Finnish keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had fumbled a bouncing shot by Nani.
Both Cherundolo (groin) and Whitbread (back) played on Saturday but will use the international break to recuperate.
Cherundolo's Hannover 96 beat Hoffenheim, 2-0, and is third in the German Bundesliga with seven games to play.
Whitbread, who played for the USA at the 2003 Under-20 World Cup, was born in Houston, where his father was coaching, but he grew up in England and Singapore.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley called up Leeds defender Eric Lichaj as a replacement.