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Knee injury sidelines Holden, Klinsmann concerned it could be major

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CHICAGO– From the moment he hit the ground during Sunday’s Gold Cup Final, the immediate reaction to seeing Stuart Holden on the ground with an apparent knee injury was one of fear and concern for a player who has endured more heartbreaking injury calamities than any player should.

Holden left the U.S. team’s match vs. Panama in the 19th minute with what was initially being called a sprained right knee, but listening to Jurgen Klinsmann after the match, it was clear there was a strong belief that Holden’s injury was more than just a tweak or mild sprain.

“We are very concerned about Stewie’s situation. It looks like a very serious knee injury,” Klinsmann said of Holden’s injury. “But I’m not a doctor. I can’t confirm it. Wait until, hopefully, tomorrow. Things (will) maybe look better.

“He will get an MRI. He will get all the tests done,” Klinsmann said. “But Stewie is a player that, when something happens, he knows that something happened. Hopefully it’s not as bad, but it’s not looking good right now.”

The injury suffered on Sunday came after a collision with Panama’s Alberto Quintero, a collision that left him in pain with an injury to his right knee, not the surgically-repaired left knee that cost him a year and a half of action.

Holden took part in the U.S. team’s celebrations after the match, leading the team to the medal ceremony, and spending part of the celebration carried on the back of U.S. centerback Omar Gonzalez before limping the rest of the way. Afterwards, Holden walked through the interview area at Soldier Field with a look on his face that could be best described as devastated.

“He’s the soul of this team, he has been this trip,” said Landon Donovan, whose mood turned somber when asked about Holden. “We’re bummed for him.”

Holden will have his knee evaluated on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, but his reaction to the injury suggests that Holden firmly believes he is facing another long injury layoff, which would be devastating for a player who has already endured two lengthy injury layoffs in the past three years.

Holden missed the better part of a year and a half with a knee injury suffered after an ugly challenge from Manchester United defender Johnny Evans in 20111. Prior to that, Holden suffered a broken leg due to an ugly studs-up tackle from Dutch midfielder Nigel DeJong in May of 2010.


  1. To the people posting about how this isn’t a career-ender and it was only his broken leg and not the one Evans did in, don’t forget about the mental damage done by constantly being injured.

    Confidence is vital to athletes. After my fourth knee surgery I convinced myself playing meant surgery and months of rehab. Hopefully his injury isn’t bad and, if it is, I hope he’s mentally tougher than me. But, it isn’t just about the physiology.

  2. I have a feeling Stu’s going to play another position in order to continue his career. He’s been injured too much to play in the central midfield. Hopefully our fears will turn out not to be true.

  3. Even if the damage isn’t bad, it still bodes poorly for his future. You can’t be a footballer if you can’t trust your body. I just don’t think he will ever be the same player he was before the injury. He might still have a decent club career, but his international career is probably over.

  4. First….I hope it’s something that only takes a month or maybe 2…..2nd, if it is bad, I hope he had insurance because I think I remember reading that Bolton was going to wait till after the summer to officially sign him to an extension. Hope I’m wrong…..does anyone remember if he had already signed? Maybe after the qualifiers?

  5. The look on Holden’s face in the seconds after he went down was sad to see. Almost trancelike disbelief– very similar to the expresion I remember on Michael Owen’s face went he reinjured himself in the early moments of Englands WC 2006 opener against Sweden. Tough to watch. Here’s hoping we’re all wrong in our expectation about the severity.

  6. A lot of you guys are fukcing “football” dorks that know nothing about sports (imperative voice and the like) but I think we can all agree that this sucks.

    • Not sure what your point is. Yes, we are all probably football dorks, because we follow intently and post on a blog/website.

      How does that translate into knowing nothing about sports?

      • Mostly a troll comment but DeRo winning MVP after getting traded twice and not making the playoffs is an all time “I just can’t respect soccer-only fans.”

  7. Devastating. His first game in this Gold Cup showed a level of skill and precision unlike that of just about any other US player to wear the uniform. He was going to be a difference-maker in the WC against teams the US had trouble with in the past. I hope he still will be.

    Best of wishes, Stu.

  8. All-time USMNT career derailments,….

    Tab Ramos
    Chris Armas
    Charlie Davies
    Stu Holden

    Hopefully Stu gets good news. Best of luck manno!

      • Ben Olsen too… he still had a decent career, but his early ankle injuries and fracture in England really derailed most of his career. Thinking about this with Holden is making me depressed!

  9. Should he have played in the game? Hadn’t he already accomplished what he had set out to do at this tournament? Hadn’t Mix done enough to merit a start?

    • Should he have played? Why shouldn’t he have played? If he was healthy, isn’t that what a soccer player should do–play in soccer games? Hadn’t Stu done enough to merit a start in the final? How could anyone possibly know which game might cause him an injury? What’s the meaning of the universe? Will these questions ever end?

      • I bring up these questions mostly from Bolton’s point of view. I didn’t think the point of Stu’s tournament was to help him get back to 100%, not for him to log major minutes and help the team win a trophy…

    • C’mon man. I love Holden as much as the next guy but he’s a football player. Unfortunately, and I don’t mean to sound harsh here, he can’t be babied for for injury. With that said, I hope it’s not as bad as they think. Guy looked so happy being on the pitch again.

      • Not saying that he should have been babied, and of course he wanted to be out there as much as any player would. Just bringing up the point that Bolton has a say in all of this too, and they are ultimately who has the biggest stake in Stu’s health. These questions don’t matter much from his point of view since who cares who he was playing for when he got hurt and at some point these things are just going to happen. Anyway, hope it is not bad and he is back in a few weeks!

    • Honestly these questions were going thru my mind as well. Maybe a more guarded approach would have been better, the way Holden was brought slowly along early in the tourney? Trying to start again 3 days after going 90 too much too soon? Who knows and hindsight is 20/20. I cant blame staff for wanting him in there and no doubt he wanted to be in there. Sh***y situation.

      • Given how the injury occurred i.e. not a big collision, it seems to me this just as easily have happened in training.

        And it happened early in the game. So it’s not as if a pre arranged sub
        at the half would have made a difference.

        Shit happens.

  10. The collision had nothing to do with the injury. It sucks that Stu might have to deal with another injury, hopefully the test results don’t come out bad.

    • That’s what I really found strange. He runs into the player with his left knee. He doesn’t even seem to catch or twist the right knee. I don’t know, I guess all you can do for now is hope.

      • It looked as if he did catch and twist the right knee jamming his foot in trying to stop the collision on the other side.

  11. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Stewart also attacked by hooligans as a teenager trailing at… was it Sunderland? Spent weeks in the hospital so he wasn’t offered a contract?

    Man is a magnet for brutality.

  12. Hope its nothing major. That lachmans (sp?) test they showed a shot of the trainer dong on the sideline did not look good though- from a very untrained eye. Anyone else see/think that?

    Either way, he’ll bounce back for sure. He’s a tough character.

  13. Hoping for the best. Thinking positive, if it was an ACL tear or something that serious on his surgically repaired knee, then yeah, might be a career-ending thing. But since it is his left knee that has not been as hurt in the past, maybe he can pull through it.

    Fingers crossed.

  14. When he walked off the field to the locker room, he didn’t appear to even be limping. Hopefully these fears won’t be realized.

  15. I have a bad feeling this is serious like an acl tear or something along those lines. My brother tore his and was able to walk like Holden as well. But here’s Hoping its just a minor injury. If its not I hate to admit it but maybe an early retirement is necessary.

    • It’s the other knee, so I think retirement would be premature, but it would obviously be devastating for Stu, and US fans as well.

      • Correct. Depends on the severity of the peripheral damage. e.g., you can’t walk on a torn ACL if accompanied by a fractured tibial plateau = extreme pain! But other cases may not be as severe. It’s dangerous to jump to conclusions — let’s just wait & see, and hope for the best for Stu.

  16. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I hope if his soccer career doesn’t work out he gets time on sky sports or as a color commentator for ESPN or something. It’s really too sad, if he didn’t have so many injuries he would easily be starting for an Everton type club in the EPL and pushing for the Champions League. Good luck to ya mate. Get well, I wanna see you starting in Brazil.

    • He will be on the air the day his career ends, which I hope isn’t soon. I agree; I thought he was on the way to becoming a top player before the injuries took hold. You can tell how much all the other guys love him.

    • Retirement?

      I understand he’s had a succession of injuries but he’s 27 and with our medical technology nowdays, he may never be 100% again but he certain has many playing days ahead of him if he wants to.

      At this point, it’s a mental fight more than a physical fight. His knee will be repaired..whether or not mentally is another topic.

    • That’s ridiculous. Even if it took him 3 years to rehab that knee, he’d still have a place in MLS.

      The Dynamo would take him back in a heartbeat.

      • Hope this story is totally wrong but two things:

        1) his first injury was far more serious …. his leg was sliced open
        2) MLS, with all the turf, is hard on joints

    • His career isn’t over…he’ll need time to recover, but he’ll be fine. If it was really bad, they don’t let him walk around.

      • I had the same thought, it would complete another comback story perfectly, with Stu coming in to save the day. I would venture to guess Stu envisions himself making the game changing play in the 2014 World Cup and it will drive his rehab again. I cross my fingers it is a strain and will only be 6-8 weeks out.

    • You are getting way ahead of the reality.

      The reality is he needs to evaluated. I get the business about he should know but he could be wrong.

      Given his history you can’t blame him for being overly cautious.

      And it is the other knee not the one he originally hurt. So this could just be a comparatively minor sprain. If so he might even be able to make it back for Brazil.

      I’ve been wrong before but I’m hoping I’m right in this case.


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