[AMERICANS ABROAD]Once again, Stuart Holden faces the prospect of a long injury layoff -- the fourth in the last three years -- as Bolton Wanderers confirmed on Tuesday that the U.S. midfielder will be out of action for 6-9 months following an operation on the ligaments in his right knee.
That's the same knee he injured in the Gold Cup final and kept him out of action for seven months before returning on March 1 in a Bolton under-21 game. He was injured in the first half, falling on the ground going for a loose ball, and had to leave the match.
Holden burst on the U.S. national team scene in 2009, scoring twice during the 2009 Gold Cup and looking set to earn a the regular starting job, but a broken leg suffered playing for the USA against the Netherlands in March 2010 limited him to just a few minutes at the World Cup in South Africa.
Nonetheless, he recovered to play very well for Bolton, then in the Premier League, until March 2011 when a vicious tackle by Jonny Evans of Manchester United opened up a gash on his leg that required 26 stitches and inflicted serious damage to his left knee.
A six-month layoff followed, but Holden returned to action in September 2011 in a League Cup match for Bolton. He played the entire game against Aston Villa, but after being caught in a tackle and experiencing pain in the same knee, an examination revealed cartilage damage that sent him into rehabilitation yet again.
This time, Holden was sidelined for 16 months before playing for Bolton in an FA Cup match in January 2013. Holden only played one league match for Bolton -- his only league appearance for the club in the last three years -- but he was making enough progress that Sheffield Wednesday took him on loan for the end of the 2012-13 season and Jurgen Klinsmann called him into the national team for the June qualifiers and Gold Cup in July 2013. He made one appearance in qualifying as a sub but started four games for the USA at the Gold Cup.
He was rewarded with a start in midfield ahead of Mix Diskerud, but he had to go off after colliding with Panama’s Alberto Quintero. Holden’s surgically repaired left knee hit Quintero's knee, but the injury was to Holden's right knee on which he put his weight as he braced for the challenge.
Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, the longtime U.S. Soccer surgeon, operated on Holden last summer, and Holden returned to him after his latest setback.