Kansas City Wizards starting goalkeeper Tony Meola underwent arthroscopic knee surgery March 31 in Los Angeles, California. The surgery, performed by U.S. national team doctor Bert Mandelbaum, went well, but Meola will be sidelined for six months. The injury occurred on March 17th, as he turned and planted to kick a ball at training.
"Tony (Meola) had a complete tear of his ACL and arthroscopic ACL reconstructive surgery was performed, as well as repairing the tears to his meniscus," Dr. Mandlebaum said. "The procedure went very well and rehabilitation will begin immediately. We are probably looking at six months for his return."
If he is able to return in six months, there will still be three regular season games remaining (October 2nd at Chicago, October 6th at San Jose and October 9th versus Los Angeles).
"Although I suspected the worst news, it does not help to have it confirmed," Kansas City coach Ron Newman said. "We had great ambitions this season with Tony in the back, but it is much different now. We have to put it aside and do what we can with what we have. It is time for (Chris) Snitko to come through. He has waited three years for this opportunity."
Goalkeeper Snitko missed the first two games of the 1999 season with an injured back, but is scheduled to start on Saturday versus New England at Arrowhead.
The news on the severity of Meola's injury comes just days after the Wizards learned that defender Scott Uderitz would be lost for the season with a knee injury.
In addition, defender Sean Bowers was knocked unconscious in training, as he collided with midfielder Brian Johnson. He was rushed to the hospital via ambulance for further evaluation. He suffered a concussion, but no neck injuries. Johnson had two stitches in his scalp. Bowers will be out for the game on Saturday, but Johnson is scheduled to play.
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