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Report: Bolton expect Holden back in training early next year

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Back home in Houston, Stuart Holden has been rehabbing from his third serious knee injury in the last three years.

The American international was injured during the 2013 Gold Cup final in late July, keeping him out of Bolton’s early-season plans in the English Championship. According to manager Dougie Freedman though, Holden’s rehabilitation is on-schedule and he could be back in training early next year.

“I’m in contact with Stuart and he’s doing well,” Freedman told the Bolton News in England. “We do know he is set to come back over here in the near future. The plan then is for over the Christmas period and into January he’ll head back over to the States to make sure the guys who are doing his rehab are fully up to speed.

“Then when he’s at a good level hopefully we can look at reintroducing him to training into the early part of the year.”

Holden is currently recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in the early minutes of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 1-0 victory over Panama in the Gold Cup final. It’s the latest in a string of unfortunate injuries that has kept the former Houston Dynamo star off the field and in the gym and training centers.

The 28-year-old made a return from injury last January for Bolton after missing all but one League Cup game since March of 2011. He spent a month on loan with Sheffield Wednesday and spent a majority of the summer with the USMNT, making one appearance off the bench in World Cup qualifiers and four starts in five games for the USA in the Gold Cup.

“On the phone he sounds in good spirits, but that’s the kind of guy he is,” Freedman said. “When he comes back he’s going to spend a month or so with us so that we can make sure the rehabilitation is being done in the right way. We obviously need to make sure his comeback isn’t rushed and that everything is okay.”


What do you think of this report? Glad to hear Holden is on the comeback trail? Do you see him returning to the Bolton squad by February or March? Do you believe he has a chance to make the World Cup squad?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. My son tore his ACL playing and now has Stu’s picture as the background wallpaper on his phone. I for one hope Stu comes back strong. He is an inspiration.

  2. Oh no don’t get my hopes up! I would probably take an out-of-form-playing-on-one-leg-and-a-crutch-on-serious-pain-meds Holden over an in form Kliestjan, Mix, Jones, D. Williams, Beckerman, Edu, basically anyone but Bradley in the midfield.

  3. It’s sad to say but I kinda think stu holdens just one of those guys whose injury prone. I’m not saying hes weak or a wuss or anything but I just think hes susceptible to injury, theres players like that in every sport. We just cannot count on him to be part of our plans going forward, also hes 28, so hes starting to run out of time if I’m being honest.

    • Fact is, in sports, lightning tends to strike twice – and more than twice – in the same place. Nothing makes you more susceptible to another injury – even in another part of the body – than a previous injury.

      The reason why is compensation. If your right leg is injured, for instance, it’s not going to be as strong, and you unconsciously load up more on your left. Your body mechanics are going to be altered, however subtly…and because you’re not usually fully fit, parts of your body are going to be unnaturally stronger than other parts – again, a recipe for another injury. A guy at Steadman-Hawkins (one of the best sports-medicine ortho facilities in the world) told me the statistics one time, that someone who had suffered one major injury was over 60 per cent more likely to suffer a second major injury within the next year than someone who had not. They do say you can get through it – ’90’s NFL running back Terry Allen, for instance, tore both ACL’s in 1992 and then again in 1993, rebuilt both knees, and ended up playing, and very productively, until 2001 – so there is some precedent for players with multiple knee injuries returning from them and enjoying long careers afterwards.

      Just to watch Holden play in the Gold Cup, it really didn’t look like he’d dropped off that much and was definitely on the way back despite having two surgeries, so a third may not kill him either if he rehabs properly…and then makes it through that magic “first year” without suffering another major injury to his knees. Trick is to not just rehab…but get his body game-fit enough that he’s not compensating anymore.

  4. I wonder if Klinnsman’s decision to keep Holden so busy over the summer with the national team is being questioned. I remember Klinnsman talking a lot about how the best thing for Stu was to just get him playing as much as possible. Maybe he needed to return to the fold a bit more slowly.

  5. Since some of the players in the USMNT are going to be asked to go abroad before world cup it would be great to get a few with teams where we already have at least one Yank 1- So their team can get some help (ideally if the players are good enough) and 2- so they get use to training and playing with someone else from the USMNT player pool.

    However….all things being equal it would be great to get some players over to a team where we have a few yanks and the club is risking relegation or fighting to get promoted. So…it would be good if there is a fit to get someone over to help Jozy’s club…but also since Stu being out has really hurt Bolton and he got hurt in the Gold Cup…it would be nice if maybe we can find a player or two to send to their team from MLS with favorable terms. I know the clubs have a big (or the wholesay ) say in this but maybe US soccer can try to help the case by getting some strength to a club like Bolton so whenever Stu is back to full health he doesnt have to spent a year fighting to get the club back up the next season by getting 1 or 2 MLS yanks over for the loan (Omar, Zuzi, Beasler, etc)

    • I’ve heard that there could be as many as 10-15 MLS players heading across the pond this January transfer window for 8-10-week loans to shore up EPL teams in need of short-term help. It’s a good time for EPL teams – that’s definitely the time of year they need help but often have little money to do it, have accumulated injuries, and can definitely use some short-term reinforcements. With this being a World Cup year, and with MLS loaded up with not just American but also Honduran and Costa Rican players, there’s apparently going to be a bumper crop of available Internationals looking for these short-term loans, and the success of guys like Donovan and Kei Kamara in the past has done wonders for the stock of MLS players succeeding in the EPL.

      • Just off the top of my head…guys who could get a look off the USMNT are Donovan, Dempsey, Besler, Gonzalez, Zusi, Brad Evans, Brad Davis, and Nick Romando. Honduras has Marvin Chavez and Oscar Garcia, along with (cough) Jerry Bengston, and Costa Rica has Randall Wallace and Alvaro Saborio. There’s also plenty of other guys from the likes of Panama and Jamaica who could get a look this January as well.

  6. wishing him the best and not counting on a USMNT contribution- if it happens, fantastic, if not hope he thrives at club level and earns $$$$.

    that season that he more than held his own for that EPL season when he was Bolton’s best player was nice-even nicer would be to see half a dozen Holden-type running the show in a top league-that way if one gets seriously injured there aren’t cries of agony from the USMNT fanbase..

  7. Can Stu work a miracle? Who knows. I do know that KLinsmann loves the guy. So, if Stu is playing regularly before the WC, you better believe he will be at the very least added to the 30 man prelim roster.

  8. So I started thinking that Stu gets his game back (forget the WC, that ship has sailed) and then start thinking ahead for 2018…then I look up and see that Stu’s 28. Heartbreaking. Hope he can rebuild his club career.

    • So? Landon and DMB will be 32 in Brazil. Clint will be 31. If he can stay healthy and that’s a GIANT IF, then it’s not out of the question.

      • There is a fair amount of uncertainty about the knees, for sure, but all that time off of the pitch will have resulted in a lot less mileage on the whole body. He may very well be a “young” 32 in 2018. And with his skill set and attitude, I’ll keep my hopes up for him. Keep in mind, his injury history does not necessarily mean he is “injury-prone”… … only one of those knee injuries (the most recent) was a result of a simple run-of-play incident. The first two (DeJong + Evans) were criminal attacks.

  9. Tragic what happened to Stu in the Gold Cup. I still wonder if maybe Stu was not pushing too hard after his long lay-off, that maybe he should not have been starting games and done a more gradual approach and maybe might have been better off doing preseason back at his club after such a long layoff.

    • Since he got injured in an international game, FIFA is footing the bill for his salary. That’s the reason why Bolton kept him on the books since he’s costing them nothing.

    • I’ve thought about this too.

      Throughout the June WCQs and the Gold Cup, there were numerous stories about how Stu is such a positive presence in the squad, etc. etc.

      If we can’t make the squad due to injuries, I wonder if they would bring him to Brazil in some capacity? Doesn’t seem too crazy…

      • I think it is a great idea. JK has made numerous references to the great job Stu does of keeping the team balanced, light-hearted and focused. Didn’t England do something similar with Beckham and other players in the past?

    • I hear you Cody, but Stew Holden is the type of guy who always fights back and never quits. He deserves our support! He’s always had that fighting spirit and the positive energy that affects the entire team.

  10. It’s been said before, retire from the USMNT and focus your time and energy on your club career from here out man. Fans love and appreciate you, but look out for your career. Club first (and only) at this point.

    • I agree, injuries never happen at the club level, so he should stay away from playing anywhere else.

      Guys playing for their national teams are looking out for their careers. Playing on the national team only helps your earning potential. If there’s any chance he’s healthy enough to try to win a spot on the WC team, he’s going to do it.

      • C’mon. National team duty is extra taxing, both physically and mentally. Travel, different training, different players, etc. Different opinions on how quickly to bring along a player coming off a major injury…

        Timber Danny has it right. My respect for Holden makes me want him to enjoy the 2nd part of his career more than push too hard in a short time to make the 2014 WC team.

      • shouldn’t he do whatever gives him the most enjoyment and fulfillment? he has the rest of his life to make money and only a few years to play soccer. just let the man be, and let him make his own choices.

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