Sacramento Republic FC announced today that right back Emrah Klimenta will undergo season-ending surgery on Wednesday, July 20th. Dr. Cassandra Lee from UC Davis Sports Medicine will perform the procedure to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Klimenta's left knee.
Klimenta left the field in visible agony during the 9th minute of Republic FC’s match against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on July 2, 2016 after a non-contact play where he jumped to avoid a tackle from Sounders defender Nouhou Tolo.
Fans feared the worst and the club later confirmed those worries when they released the extent of the injury after a few days of radio silence.
"As devastating news as this is and as saddened as I am about missing the rest of the season, this is part of the game," Klimenta told the Sacramento Bee at the time. "I’m confident the surgery is going to go well, and I know the rehab phase is going to be just as successful because of the great medical team and staff we have."
There’s never a great time for an injury, but the timing of this one came in the middle of a particularly good run of form for the Montenegro international. Klimenta appeared in 14 USL matches this season, scoring two goals and recording two assists. He also recently received his first international call-up, appearing for the Montenegro National Team in the 75th minute of a friendly match against Turkey on May 29.
Adding to Klimenta’s frustration, this is the second time he has undergone a season-ending surgery, having previously injured the ACL on his right knee six years ago.
The injury has also given Republic Head Coach Paul Buckle a lineup dilemma. One of the few remaining members of Republic’s championship side, Klimenta is the club’s all-time leader in appearances, starts, and minutes played, and has been an immovable starter at right back. In his absence, Kip Colvey has ably stepped into the role, but his status as a San Jose Earthquakes player means he can be recalled by his parent club at any moment and leave Buckle with a tactical quandary.
The typical length of ACL rehabilitation is between seven and nine months, which means Klimenta could potentially be out of action through the start of next season. It’ll be interesting to see if Republic taps into the transfer market to find a stable replacement in the interim.
Republic FC will release a full statement following the surgery on Wednesday. We wish Klimenta a successful operation and a speedy recovery.
What do you think? Should Republic stick to Colvey and risk not having him on occasion, or should they make moves in the transfer market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.