Sporting Kansas City announced Monday that forward Teal Bunbury would miss the remainder of the 2012 season and perhaps even the start of 2013 after tearing ligaments in his knee.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
I talked to him today, and he has a very good attitude about everything, coach Peter Vermes said. I have faith and trust in our medical team and rehab guys that hell come back as strong or stronger than before.
Bunbury suffered the injury early in Sundays first-place showdown against the New York Red Bulls at Livestrong Sporting Park.
He beat defender Markus Holgersson to the ball, popping it high for an assist on Kei Kamaras fourth-minute goal, but tore the ACL and damaged the LCL in his left knee in a collision with New York goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
It stood as Sporting KCs only goal in a 1-1 draw.
Bunbury, who had five goals and an assist this season, is scheduled for surgery Friday. Sporting KCs team orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Scott Luallin, will perform the surgery.
Theres never a good time to have an injury like this, but Teal was definitely in form and was a strong reference point for us on the attack and as a first line of defense, Vermes said. Hes been playing very good for a while now.
Selected No. 4 overall in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Bunbury, 22, has 21 goals in three seasons with Sporting KC, including the two he scored in last seasons playoffs. That is the most in the league for any active player age 23 or younger.
In 75 regular-season games, Bunbury, a speedy Canadian-born striker, has 19 goals and also has a goal in four appearances with the U.S. mens national team.
During the last four games, Bunbury had two goals and an assist. He was picking up slack as reigning MLS rookie of the year C.J. Sapong has been sidelined much of August with a strained right hip flexor.
Sapong who subbed in the 14th minute against New York after Bunbury tried to play through the injury will get the first crack at moving back in the starting lineup.
Vermes characterized Sapong as being 85-percent fit.
Having played significant minutes last night, hes getting closer to 100 percent, Vermes said. Id say maybe 85 or 90 percent right now.
Vermes also said that Jacob Peterson, who is out with a dislocated shoulder, might return to practice as early as next week.
Bobby Convey ought to return sometime in September as well, while Soony Saad has been a regular among the game-day 18 lately. Rookie first-round pick Dom Dwyer could be in line for minutes if needed.
Well miss him, but well make it work for sure, Vermes said. Thats why youve got to have depth and have guys who play multiple positions.
Sporting KC, 14-7-5, which has a two-point lead over the Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference, returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Toronto FC at Livestrong Sporting Park.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.