After injury-shortened comeback, Holden to travel to U.S. for knee scan

StuartHoldenBoltonreserves1-Everton (Bolton)


Stuart Holden will find out more about his latest setback this week.

While playing with the Bolton Wanderers reserves on Monday, the American midfielder was forced off just 23 minutes into his comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Though he was able to walk off under his own power, Holden is set to travel to the U.S. to undergo a scan on his re-injured knee to see the extent of the damage, according to Bolton. Holden’s scan will be done by the surgeon who operated on him last July.

The news of Holden’s injury was heartbreaking for fans and teammates alike, with well wishes pouring in from around the globe on Twitter and other forms of social media. Holden had been rehabbing a torn right ACL suffered in the Gold Cup final last July when the U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Panama.

What do you think of this news? Holding out hope that it’s not so bad? Think he can return healthy for the start of the next Bolton season?

Share your thoughts below.

  • elgringorico

    I would say that it doesn’t get much sadder than this. So many injuries to such a genuinely nice, hard-working player.

    However, this kid has a bright and long career in soccer off the field, whether that be commentating or coaching.


    • Josh D

      I’d pay him to come to my office and do a motivational speech. The man has more heart than Notre Dame’s Rudy.

      Although he was cleared by all his doctors, you would have thought that such an aggressive timeline could prove costly. I know hindsight is unfair, but last summer we all said at least a year. Maybe he should have rehabbed longer and not gone for a World Cup spot.

      I hope he can bounce back, but at this point, you may have to go for your coaching badges.


      • Brett

        He was never going to be match fit by June. I bet he travels with the team as a mascot of sorts. Silver linings.


      • whoop-whoop

        I understand the sentiment but… there isn’t a PLAYER alive that wants the pity gesture of getting to tag along as team mascot.


      • KingGoogleyEye

        and there isn’t a player who would benefit from observing such a pity gesture


      • CplDaniel

        I don’t know about silver lining. Stuart’s road has been a tough one…But he is also a reminder of an existential threat to each and every one of them, their career, and life as they know, and want it to be. Having Stu around may be nice and sociable to one part of the civilized brain, but I guarantee you that there is a section of our players’ brains that will respond with the same sort of dread as if they just left a plague-corpse on the floor of the locker room. There will be a sense of self-preservation in our players that won’t react well to a reminder of how good they can be, how close you can come, how great your life is, and have it snatched away from you. That his road to recovery looks as if God teases Stu in the same way Lucy teases Linus by letting him appear to come so close before snatching the ball away, only makes it worse.

        I wouldn’t let Stu anywhere near that locker room until after the World Cup.


    • alf

      This is so sad. I beieve everyone was pulling for he. He was the top ranked midfielder in the EPL when Johnny Evans hacked him.


      • BeardedSoccer

        I wonder how many people know this. The level he was playing at in 2010 and 2011 was as good as we’ve seen from an American midfielder. It still pisses me off to this day that Bradley didn’t have faith in him during the World Cup because he quickly showed his quality and the level he was at when Bolton’s season opened a mere few weeks later.

        Bradley also never saw him a central midfielder where he shined. Instead we got Wide Eyed Clark who had no business being on the field. Argh, I’m still hot about this.


      • GW

        Mr. Bearded Soccer,

        You anger against BB over Holden is misplaced.

        You also benefit from 20/20 hindsight.

        Stu had bones in his leg broken in March of 2010 in a game against the Netherlands by Lawnmower De Jong. He recovered just barely in time to make the World Cup and was probably not really fit. Stu and Rico played different positions anyway.

        Had Stu not been stopped by De Jong it is possible that he would have shown all that great form in the run up to South Africa. He sure did not show it in a USMNT shirt before the Netherlands game. I’m sure BB would have loved it. After all he thought enough of Stu to bring a half fit version to the World Cup.

        Stu did dominate the EPL briefly AFTER the World Cup, once his leg healed fully and he got fit again, until Evans put a stop to that.


      • BeardedSoccer

        I would argue, if he was not fit… and they were being cautious, he should have not been on the team.

        The fact is, he was fit. While a broken leg injury is horrific, the recovery time is much quicker (6 weeks) than Holden’s subsequent knee injuries, and the risk of further injury based on recovery from a broken leg is small.

        Holden hit the ground running less than 2 months later and had the season of his life.

        I can blame Bradley for his lack of ability to chose the right players and place them in the right position. The decision to make Clark, Finley and Bornstein featured players in 2010 shows a stubbornness and lack creativity as a manager that plagued his tenure. For all the good of the Bradley era, we underachieved.

        Mentioning that Stu and Ricardo played different positions is my point. Bradley only saw him as a winger when his natural position is central midfield, which Owen Coyle was able to recognize (and alot of other people before Holden’s move to Bolton too).

        So no, my anger is not misplaced.


      • GW

        Mr. Bearded Soccer,

        You have no idea how BB saw Holden. He obviously had a high regard for him if he brought him to the WC.

        In hindsight , sitting here 2-3 years, later it’s clear now that Holden should not have been on the 2010 World Cup team. Neither should Gooch who wasn’t match fit either.

        I would not have taken either one but that isn’t what you are arguing.

        What you are arguing is that the Holden who went to South Africa was the same Holden that later tore up the EPL.

        I disagree.

        After he broke his leg Stu did not play again for Bolton before the World Cup . In the run up to South Africa for the US he played two games, 90 minutes vs. the Czech republic and about 9 minutes vs. Turkey.

        So he was physically recovered but 99 minutes of game time in three months tells me he could not have been sharp. He only played 6 minutes in the Cup. Given how much BB had been using him before it is logical to assume BB was being cautious. After all it seems pretty clear now that Holden has a history of coming back a little too soon.

        I saw every USMNT game Holden played and while he was great in the B team Gold Cup games, he struggled in all the other games.

        It’s worthwhile remembering that at Bolton, Stu had a team perfectly set up for him, which the USMNT was not.

        In hindsight it is clear that had he been fit and sharp as you say he was he should have replaced MB- nepotism who as I recall, had a pretty good World Cup.


      • BeardedSoccer

        For me it wasn’t hindsight, because I had been calling for this at the time. My opinion was that he should be playing next to Bradley instead of Clark/Edu/Torres.

        Bradley never played Holden centrally, so that is a clear he didn’t see him in that role.

        These were and have remained my opinion and have subsequently demonstrated themselves to be true.


      • GW

        Mr Bearded Soccer

        “Holden hit the ground running less than 2 months later and had the season of his life”

        Stu broke his leg in the beginning of March, 2010 which means by the World Cup he had had about 2-3 months to recover . As you say “less than 2 months later” Stu had another 2 months to recover for the EPL season. Anyone looking at the timeline will tell you he had to be in much better shape for the start of the EPL season than he was for the World Cup. So please don’t try to tell me that his play two months later proved he should have been playing more than he did in South Africa. Of all things we do know about Stu one is that he comes back too soon.

        “My opinion was that he should be playing next to Bradley instead of Clark/Edu/Torres.”

        If BB could have had Stu at his best, Stu would have replaced Mikey. And based on World Cup form , Stu would have had either had Edu or Bradley , probably Edu, playing next to him.

        “Bradley never played Holden centrally, so that is a clear he didn’t see him in that role.”

        Just because BB did not start Holden there it does not mean he would never have put him there. You can’t read minds. For example, did you know BB was going to call up Adu for the 2011 Gold Cup? And the biggest problem Holden had with the USMNT was he kept drifting inside so often you’d have a bunch of USMNT midfielders standing next to each other. My guess is BB would have been forced to play him there eventually since he wound up there so often anyway.

        “These were and have remained my opinion and have subsequently demonstrated themselves to be true.”

        What has been demonstrated to be true? Nothing has been demonstrated.

        As you said Stu never played centrally for the US so you don’t know how he would have done. Most of us suspect he would have been great but since he’s never done it, it has not been demonstrated.

        In fact, Stu never had a breakout game for the USMNT so if Holden does not come back you will never know how good Stu could have been for the USMNT. It is pretty clear that club form, no matter how great, does not necessarily translate to the national team.

        What Stu should do is not play in March since he always gets hurt in March. Look it up.


      • Good Jeremy

        He broke his leg three months before the 2010 World Cup.

        It’s hard to blame Bob for being cautious there, with Stu’s history of injuries.


  • Reid

    For the betterment of his body it might be time to hang up the boots. He has been well liked wherever he has gone throughout his career. He has the personality to succeed in the next step.

    Hoping the best for him.


  • William the Terror

    Yeah. Valiant effort, Stu, but it’s time to hang them up and call it a career.


  • dcpohl

    My heart hurts for Stu. This whole flight back to the US for a scan doesn’t sound good.


    • The Imperative Voice

      We do have high quality knee doctors that even foreign players use, but it is a shame how this is playing out. When you start having non-contact issues that does not bode well.


  • Jon

    Give it up, Stu.

    Retire. Bang your supermodel WAG. Maybe replace Twellman at ESPN.


  • JayAre

    Sad story Holden or O’brien cruse. Only 20 minutes? Who’s the Doctor that operates on him?


    • DanO

      Bert Mandelbaum, US Soccer team physician for a long time. Well known and respected orthopedic surgeon. Stu was lucky to have him do his ACL.

      Not sure anyone’s really to blame (doc, Stu, therapists, physio at Bolton, etc), plus no one even knows what the injury is at this point.


      • Revolution

        It’s go time!

        But seriously, get well soon Stu. It’s heartbreaking what is happening to this guy. I wish it was me who was injured instead, seeing as I don’t have the potential to be one of the best American midfielders of all time.


      • patrick

        there may be no one to blame, sometimes this stuff just happens. Medicine, is not miracles.


  • bkupp

    Seven months from surgery to competitive games is very fast. Given his history, he/they probably should have been a lot more conservative.


  • Ryan Nanez

    I feel for the guy I really do, but I can’t help but wonder if this keeps happening because he tries to rush back so quickly. I dunno. But valiant effort stu might be time to hang up the boots mate. Atleast at the international level


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    It’s just very sad. A class guy who can’t catch a break. He’s amazes me with how strong his mind is with how many times he’s had to come back but I wonder if this is it. There’s no shame when the body answers for you. Nothing but respect. Here’s to a speedy recovery, Stu. Even if it’s to prepare you for your post playing career. Cheers!


  • Jim

    Yeah, maybe he came back to soon. But my guess is that his doctors are just shrugging their shoulders and saying something like, “Listen, we have doubts that your body can hold up to the rigors of professional soccer anymore. But if you really want to test it out, go ahead.”

    Such a sad way for a career to end.


  • patrick

    we know nothing of the injury, it could be that Holden, and Bolton, are being super cautious, and any sort of discomfort was enough to shut hm down. He’s had a lot of surgeries, it could be scar tissue breaking up, it could be a bit of arthritis in the knee, it could just be inflammation. There’s no way to tell.Maybe it’s not his knee, perhaps his new, altered running style is putting pressure on his achilles?

    I also wouldn’t be too distressed about flying back to the US. He’s done virtually all of his rehab here. He’s basically just going to his doctor.

    I’m the first to admit, this is optimistic thinking, but man, if anyone deserves a break, it’s Stu.


    • The Imperative Voice

      He’s getting on a plane. I don’t think he’d be on a plane for discomfort.

      Once you’ve done a knee you know what it feels like, and oddly, it is not necessarily massively painful to “re-do.”


      • patrick

        when your world renowned doctor is in a different country, and money is no object, you get on a plane.


  • ryan

    Let’s not encourage him to hang up his boots just yet. If there is a reason for him to do it, he’ll make the decision in due time. For now, we should all be sending well wishes, not career advice.


  • biff

    Maybe Stu should consider visiting the club doctor of FC Bayern, Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, who treats all German international soccer players and other big German stars, including a younger Jurgen Klinsmann. A second opinion can’t hurt.


  • Landon Klinsman

    Time to hang it up, Stu. God Bless you and your effort. A little education and you can become a trainer, or even a doctor. I wish every player on USMNT gave as much effort as you. Hope to see you on the sidelines with a microphone this summer (but I know you will probably be trying to rehab instead!).


  • Jacknut

    Looks like he will join Hugo Perez, Jon O’Brien and Corey Gibbs on the USA’s “What Might Have Been” Team.


    • GW

      ” the USA’s “What Might Have Been” Team.”

      That is an unfair description of .JOB’s career. JOB was a pro soccer player for about 8 years and a regular for Ajax, a great club, for many years.

      With Ajax he won the Dutch Eredivisie twice, 2001–02, 2003–04 and the KNVB Cup, 2002 once.

      With the USMNT he won the 2005 Gold Cup and went to two World Cups, scored a goal and was arguably the US’ best midfielder in the 2002 World Cup . Donovan called him the best US soccer player he ever knew.

      He could have done more but he still did a lot more than most American soccer players have.


  • Bean

    Holden has already achieved more than most in his football career. He played at a high level in a top league, and was noticed for his footballing brilliance.


  • Brett

    His problem with the knee is stability. Once that knee is wrecked it is never stable and explosive again. If he tries to explode on it, he will only reinjure it eventually. Time to hang it up, kid.


  • Ryan

    Nicest guy there is and a great player. However, if he wants to be able to walk on his own by the time he’s 55, the healthiest thing for him to do is to retire. I’m sure there will always be a place in the USSF for him with some job, but I’m positive ESPN would love to hire him as an analyst because of his awesome personality and (I assume) knowledge of the game.

    And they can get rid of Twellman to make room lol.

    I wish him a fast and full recovery and I admire his strength, courage, tenacity and motivation. #NoHoldenBack


  • Aaron

    Just too bad…He had the ability to be the best playmaking central midfielder the US has ever seen. I say he keeps trying, what else is there to do? He clearly desires to play, so keep fighting.


  • Murph

    WTF, can the Football gods just give the guy a friekin break? Best Box-to-Boxer in the system…


  • Jake

    Sometimes the questions at the end of the articles are kind of dumb:

    “What do you think of this news? Holding out hope that it’s not so bad? Think he can return healthy for the start of the next Bolton season?”

    It’s horrible.


    Do I look like a doctor?


  • Bill

    May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the testicles of both De Jong and Evans.


  • Jesse D

    Heart-breaking. Wishing him all the best for his career and his quality of life without it. I choose to be thankful that Bradley played for 4 minutes at the end of the England game. He will always be an US world cup player because of that.


  • euroman

    Holden is now being injured w/o really being touched (just like to GC) so it’s time to look at other career paths.


  • Duke

    I think Stu that it’s time to hang them up. Your knees just aren’t going to take it


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