Uruguayans got some very harrowing news this past week when, all of a sudden, Luis Suárez had knee surgery. Say what? Yep. After a couple of weeks in training camp where he was looking good, he suddenly felt a twinge in his knee, got an MRI and had arthroscopic knee surgery the very next morning. With the World Cup kickoff for Uruguay just 22 days away now, you can see why we’re a little alarmed. Will this knee injury dash all of our hopes?
Let’s first talk about the actual injury, which is to Suárez’s meniscus. Here’s a statement from AUF (Uruguayan soccer’s governing body):
“The AUF medical service states that yesterday, Wednesday May 21, the player Luis Suárez, after a normal warm-up, suffered intense pain in his left knee while working with the football. An MRI scan confirmed a partial injury to the external meniscus in his left knee. This morning, a partial removal of the meniscus was carried out via arthroscopy. There is no confirmation of other issues in the knee. His participation in the World Cup in Brazil is not ruled out.”
That’s one of those situations where you wish they would have said something like, “we feel confident that he’ll participate in the World Cup in Brazil.” Unfortunately, nobody really knows what his condition will be when Uruguay kicks off against Costa Rica on June 14. Typically speaking, this surgery takes 15-20 days of recovery time. Thursday’s surgery left Suárez with 23 days to recover. If all goes well, he could be 100% physically sound in time to play in that game. However, even if he is, his knee will be basically untested (other than whatever physical therapy I’m sure he’ll go through while recovering). That’s a scary thought. He really won’t know how well that knee will hold up until he gets on the pitch. Suárez is in his physical prime, and is known as a gritty type of player; so he should recover quickly and play through whatever pain he’s feeling. But will he be able to be the Luis Suárez we all know? Hard to say.
If Súarez can’t go, Uruguay’s hopes won’t necessarily be dashed, but things would be made much more difficult. Thankfully, Uruguay still has Edinson Cavani on the pitch. Cavani is one of the best scorers in all of Europe, and he has the talent to score multiple times per game. However, he has yet to really explode onto the international scene in that way. He often seems to disappear during games. Hopefully he can step up and ease the load on Suárez, or maybe replace his production all together. There’s always 2010’s Golden Boot winner Diego Forlán too. At 36, Forlán is past his prime, but maybe there’s some magic left in his legs?
Either way, I’m not sure either of these guys can quite take over a game like Súarez can. He’s the type of player that can take a 0-0 game and turn it into a 1-0 win completely on his own. That’s the part that will be hard to replace. The worst part of any potential injury is that this was supposed to be Suárez’s coming out party for the world. Last World Cup belonged to Forlán, with Suárez providing some solid backup and hope for the future. 2014 is supposed to be the year Suárez takes over the national team. It would be a shame if he had that taken away from him by an injury.
Anyway, I think Uruguay is a tough team that can overcome this injury if they need to, but if there’s any hope to replicate 2010’s run, they need Luis. Come on, modern medicine!
Featured image courtesy of: Getty Images
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