Holden out six months with knee injury


photo by Chris Brunskill/ISIphotos.com

Stuart Holden's first full season with Bolton Wanderers has been going as well as he probably could have hoped for, but that season has prematurely come to a close.

Holden will be sidelined for about six months with the knee injury picked up in Bolton Wanderers' weekend loss to Manchester United, Bolton announced on its website on Monday. Holden also tweeted he'd be going in for surgery in London later on Monday, though it is unclear what his exact injury is.

Initial X-rays on Holden's injury showed no broken bones, but a re-evaluation of it has ruled out the U.S. national team midfielder until September, meaning he will miss this summer's Gold Cup and the start of Bolton's next season.

Holden suffered the knock going for a 50-50 ball against Jonny Evans, whose studs-up challenge forced Holden to be stretchered off. Holden received 26 stitches near his left knee following the 1-0 defeat.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.

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92 Responses to Holden out six months with knee injury

  1. FXB says:

    So is it a broken knee cap? No ligament damage?

  2. dman says:

    yeah that’s what I’m wondering too? No one has said what the additional injury is which he’ll have to have surgery on.

  3. franky says:

    It’d be fair if they suspended Evans until Holden was able to return. Only way to get rid of theses types of tackles

  4. Drew says:

    Get better soon Stu!! Go Bolton! We will miss you tons at the Gold Cup!!

  5. ga-gone says:

    He must have run over a few black cats or something. My favorite USMNT player, this is a real bummer.

  6. Rowsdower says:


  7. jon says:

    poor guy…

  8. Jeff says:

    He can’t catch a break.

  9. OrthoFC says:

    That, or my guess would be ligament or tendon damage. It could also be that Evans’ stud left a divot in his cartilage. I’m sure someone with an actual clue will end the speculation soon.

  10. Lorenzo says:

    Bull—. He gets it worse than Tab Ramos. People who break legs or other terrible injuries in which they directly caused should serve a ban as long as the player is out.

  11. DC Josh says:

    Terrible news. Totally gutted for him.

  12. bryan says:

    this pisses me off so much.

  13. jess says:

    Such a shame, I’m so heart broken for Stu, he’s been one of the players of the year in England imo, now he’s denied the opportunity to finish out a great season with a FA Cup semi (and possible final) appearance and a showing at the Gold Cup. Unfair.

  14. Powderhorn Pops says:

    aaargh! We are all bummed. Imagine how he must be feeling.

  15. Freegle says:

    Maybe we should make Stu take the month of March off every year so that some reckless tackle doesn’t make him take April – August off.

  16. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:


  17. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    well actually…

  18. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Feel terrible for him, Bolton and the USMNT. Get well soon, Stu. Stay positive…

  19. Toscano says:

    Wasn’t it also in March when he broke Carlos Johnson’s foot?

  20. Now all the people who for some reason get so upset when people talk of him as a possible star and difference maker for the USMNT, will have to wait for their banquet of crow. But it will come.

    Stuey would go.

  21. arkie says:

    Well he did this all once before. And he had to miss a World Cup last time so maybe he knows what he has to do mentally to get over this again. Won’t surprise me with his attitude if he comes back early. Bummer for our Gold Cup though.

  22. A.S. says:

    Terrible. I have this awful feeling that the English game might be too rough for him. About a year there, and already two bad injuries? Maybe he should consider moving to a different league.

  23. I’m getting a little emotional here, but the only way that this type of thing stops is if players take it into their own hands and stop it. Hockey style. If Ferguson ever puts Evans into a match against Bolton again, he should be prepared to dodge studs-up tackles from all directions. It’s obvious that guys like him feel no threat of reprecussion when they make these reckless challenges. If the governing bodies can’t put a stop to it, then the players should.

  24. A.S. says:

    Also, I hope that Bob Bradley now considers using MBradley, Jones and Edu together in the same midfield. I’ve been thinking about that for a while now. I think MBradley could thrive moving to a more attacking role, and the Jones/Edu pairing in the defensive midfield would be formidable…

    (Alas, I don’t think that Bob Bradley is that creative.)

  25. Matt says:

    I want to throw up

  26. tnnelson says:

    let’s also consider the fact that his last injury wasn’t in the EPL, but with the national team (although it was a Premier League player who injured him.) I wouldn’t say it’s too rough for him, he’s just unlucky as can be. he has been one of the leading tacklers in the league and is a stout defender. it’s not a matter of toughness, he just goes all out and throws himself into the game, and two horror tackles resulted in injury. i don’t care who you are or how tough you are, anybody who takes a tackle like this most recent one and the one from De Jong is going to come away with an injury, it happens to everyone

  27. DrNoClue says:

    My evaluation is the same as Doctor OrthoFC, it’s probably either his knee cap, ligaments, tendons, or maybe cartilage…and I’ll add probably NOT his gall bladder…so I think we’ve really narrowed down the potential knee injuries. :)

  28. BellusLudas says:

    +1 Couldn’t have said it better

  29. A.S. says:

    Good point about the DeJong injury.

    I guess the question is, will he become less agressive in his play in order to avoid injuries? (Should he?) It’s easy to say that he should continue playing the same way regardless of the injuries, but I’m actually not sure that’s the right answer if it means he will be prone to injury. And if he is going to continue to play this way, is the EPL the right league?

  30. Louis says:

    I am a Manchester United fan and a USMNT fan and I agree that these tacklese need to be dealt with by the EPL or they will not be able to get skillful players in the future. Earlier this year De Jong broke the leg of Ben Arfa, a few weeks back Jamie Carragher tried to break the leg of Nani and now this tackle. I don’t think in this case that Evans is a dirty player (first red card of his career was for the tackle on Holden) but he did leave the ground and go in studs up which is stupid and reckless. Feel horrible for Holden. You can tell Holden has earned the respect of the EPL as players such as Jack Wilshere and Rio Ferdinand were wishing him a speedy recovery. Holden is mentally tough and will come back better than ever!

  31. Annelid Gustator says:

    Poor guy. He’s like a smaller Marouane Fellaini (still with distinctive hair tho)–skilled, but constantly getting injured :(

  32. ComoPark says:

    Ugh. Especially since one British publication had him on their Best XI for the first half of the season.

  33. Mikeab says:

    So sad for Stu. Sadder still are the ManU fans who are defending what Evens did, some even claiming it shouldn’t have been a card.

  34. Eurosnob says:

    Unfortunately, Evans will probably get a 3 game suspension and be back as soon as the suspension is over.

  35. ComoPark says:

    They know it was a deserved card. Even Fergie didn’t protest.

  36. Be Serious says:

    Stu Holden didn’t miss the 2010 World Cup. He was on the team and played in the tournament. You realize that, right?

  37. BenH says:

    Damn I was hoping it would be an injury like Nani’s from a couple of weeks ago that opened up his knee. This one did look worse though, but was hopeful it was only a gash.

    Big loss for the Gold Cup. Damnit. He doesn’t have great luck in England that’s for sure. Getting jumped outside a bar in Newcastle and the injuries.

  38. CroCajun says:

    This is a sad day. I was very much looking forward to watching Stu run our offense in the middle of the pitch. Playing balls to Donovan and Dempsey. I thought he would be the center-piece that made our team work.

    On a personal note, if you follow him on twitter, watch his interviews, or watch him play, you can’t help but like the guy. What a great role model for the next generation. A guy who paid his dues and is making it happen.

  39. Robert Daniels says:

    Maybe stu should think about bulking up, just a thought. I know it probable wouldn’t have prevented either injury but it couldn’t hurt.

  40. KenC says:

    Sh*t! If Stu didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

  41. KenC says:

    Must have sliced a tendon that needs reattaching or something. D*mn! Get well soon, Stu!

  42. HoboMike says:

    You realize that Bradley already tried this, right? And the experiment didn’t turn out so well.

  43. Luke says:

    Too soon man, too soon….

  44. Luke says:

    And you realize that he was completely out of fitness and form for the WC which probably took away his chances of actually making a difference right?

  45. Jack says:

    Gutted. If it’s six months, he must have done something to a ligament or tendon. Maybe a PCL injury?

    God. Poor guy. He can’t catch a f******* break can he? If you look at his Twitter, he’s still staying positive and mentioned that he had a call from Johnny Evans. There are so many jerks in this game, particularly in the EPL. You kind of wish it would happen to them instead of a genuinely nice person like Stu.

  46. A.S. says:


  47. HoboMike says:

    Friendly vs. Columbia. Edu, Jones, and Bradley all started, and all got in each other’s way. Edu and Jones weren’t on the same page, and Bradley tracked back, so we had 3 people in the middle of the field, just crowding each other.

    (SBI-It was their first game trying it, didn’t work, but that doesn’t mean you scrap it after trying it once.)

  48. Judging Amy says:

    Oh man this sucks. Poor Stu. He’ll be back though.

  49. A.S. says:

    Thanks. Didn’t realize that – it’s the one recent game I didn’t watch…

    Obviously, the experiment wouldn’t work if MBradley just tracked back like a D-Mid, instead of playing higher.

  50. Predicto says:

    That’s the way Holden plays – full blast into 50/50 balls. It makes him special, he’s small but he’s got heart. But playing that way, I kinda expect he’s gonna be injury ‘prone’.

  51. botttlcaps says:

    I think one of the things to remember about Stuart Holden’s past, current and future injuries, is that the same attributes that make him a good footballer and an asset to any team is his aggressive attitude in ball winning, and it is that same zeal puts him in harm’s way a lot more than most players. While some may think twice about going for a 50-50 ball, Holden, I have observed has little or no such hesitation. You cannot teach this.It is inherent in your work ethic, competitiveness and enthusiasm. This is why in just one short year, he has become a revelation and one of the best midfielders in the most competitive league in the world.

    Although fans of football and the US team will miss this attribute for the rest of this year, Bolton, having one it’s best years (and not just coincidentally) will miss him the most.

  52. agnigrin says:


  53. Jack says:

    Was just thinking that the likelihood of Bolton imploding in their last few games just got very high. Holden has been their one consistently high-functioning player–he doesn’t have a super-high goal count, but he does set up a lot of plays that turn into goals. I don’t think that it’s coincidence that a lot of their slumps this season coincided with Stu being out.

  54. HoboMike says:

    Actually, he wasn’t the problem – Edu looked a bit crowded, and it was obviously he and Jones weren’t communicating well.

  55. Benny says:

    It was obvious he was going to miss the matches against Argentina and Paraguay, but I was looking forward to see him play in the Spain game as well as in the Gold Cup. No need for him to rush now. He should just do his physical therapy after the operation until he is 100%. It does not matter if it takes 4,6 or 8 even months. We need him healthy and fit during qualifications.

  56. abc says:

    Sure but that is not the same as “he had to miss a World Cup”

  57. Benny says:

    ” or even 8 months”

  58. abc says:

    That makes no sense.

  59. inkedAG says:

    This made me laugh. :)

  60. cajun says:

    yeah, some of them United fans are pretty sad, I was reading many “who cares, we won the game” comments or variations of such.

  61. You’re right. But something has to be done to make these guys think twice before they go that hard. Holden goes into 50/50’s all the time, maybe as much as any player in the EPL, but he seems to be able to find a way to do so with his instep and not his studs. I also think that Holden will come through and be hungrier than ever.

    In the end, I’d much rather see this handled by serious suspensions and loss of pay, rather than vendettas.

  62. DS says:

    Holden said on Twitter: “Just had a sincere phone call from Jonny Evans wishing me the best in my recovery, def wasn’t intentional, just unfortunate part of the game”; **very** impressed with his stoicism and positive attitude. Wishing him the best to reach newer heights in his career. His simple style has been so effective in midfield for Bolton. Interestingly, Jack Wilshere of Arsenal joined Bolton (on loan) at the same time as Holden, and you can see a lot of similarities — simple play, attack-minded, fearless attitude. After producing a whole bunch of defensive mids (Edu, Clark, Jones…) and one decent holding mid (Bradley), the US finally has a genuine attack-minded midfielder in the Reyna mold… good luck Stu Holden!

  63. Brett says:

    I think we should manage without him in the Gold Cup because of our depth in midfield, but Bolton is going to see a serious drop in their team form without him there to cover up for Muamba’s crappy play.

    Feel terrible for Stu though… He seems destined for an armband in the future, but he just cant catch his chance for a serious role with the MNT.

  64. Brad says:

    I think our Gold Cup chances take a serious hit with this injury. We have a bunch of CMs, but Stu has a skill set that we are hard pressed to replace. If we stick with the 4-2-3-1 line up, who do we plug into the CAM role….Deuce? MB? LD? Benny? Who can we count on to unlock a defense, while still having an international work rate, and not cause a whole in our line up at another position?

    Best of luck in rehab, Stu.

  65. DCDeacon says:

    Am I the only one unimpressed with Evans’ apology? Wow, you showed remorse, hooray. Holden continues to show real class and character, but I think in soccer (like in hockey) that the only thing that really would curtail these kinds of tackles is suspensions in line with the amount of time the injured player has to sit out.

    Evans is “really sorry,” great. Be really sorry for six months you moron. Maybe you’ll think twice about going studs up into a tackle like that, and maybe some other players will too.

  66. DCDeacon says:

    And by “like in hockey” I mean that players policing it themselves hasn’t stopped the nasty hits that injury guys. They need a similar policy.

  67. ld says:

    it was a 50 50 ball. both players left their feet with their studs up. unfortunate, but it easily could have been evans getting cut open

  68. Monzon says:

    John O’Brien, is that you?

  69. Seb says:

    Speedy recovery to SH. I don’t begrudge him for trying to make something of it, but he should have never pursued that hospital ball from Lee. It had ‘bad news’ written all over it.

  70. Since 82 says:

    Terrible news.

  71. Louis Z says:

    if he was completely out of fitness and form, why did he start the last two club games before the WC and most of all, why was he selected to the NATS. I don’t buy that. When he played for the 16 min. or so, he looked just find. I think BB just didn’t know how to use him and wasn’t going to give him the CM. A reporter asked him after the WC if he felt he was ready to play CM during the WC, and his reply was “I’m happy BB game me the opportunity to help my teammates and country”, enough said. I feel bad for him and all the fans that wanted to see him play CM for the NATS. Sometimes it is what it is.

  72. Brad says:

    Mutha F*CKER!!

  73. RedLine55 says:

    You’re right about that… when I saw Stu wide open I was hoping Lee would just slide it over. When I saw his “pass” I had a really bad feeling right away; I knew Evans wasn’t one to let him have it, and I knew Stu wasn’t one to give up on a terrible pass. Something nasty was going to happen, and unfortunately for Stu he was on the wrong end. That’s football, I suppose. A couple inches away and it’s just a clumbsy play and both players get up dust themselves off.

  74. Drew says:

    On the contrary, that right there is one of the reasons most of us love Stu. He plays with so much heart. My dad is really into baseball and this reminds me a lot of Ken Griffey Jr. One or the most talented players I’ve seen, but his all out, almost reckless abandon that he showed on defense shortened his career and numbers wise he was no where near what he could have been.

    It’s hard to tell Stu to stop going into challenges like that. That’s who he is and I respect the hell out of him for it. I just hope he comes back as the same level of player…knee injuries are serious. I do hope that Stu does a better job of picking his spots, but the thing is, it isn’t his fault he got hurt. That was a horrible tackle, and a hospital ball.

    I’m almost wondering if we go back to a 4-4-2 now. I wouldn’t mind seeing Agudelo and Jozy or Dempsey up top as much as I would hate to play two holding/defensive mids.

  75. Jack says:

    Having Dempsey and Donovan on the wings with Holden as CAM would have been incredible–whatever our issues with our other positions, that’s an attacking midfield that could do some serious damage to other teams. However, we do have a lot of depth at the CM. Maybe not as good as Holden, but we’ll manage–we’ve done okay without him. What’s sad for me is that we’re missing out on what we could have done WITH him, at least for the next six months.

    I don’t think that the USMNT has as much to worry about as Bolton. Their push for Europe might have just ended.

  76. Dancy says:


    Accidents happen. Intent and/or recklessness should be the determining factor in the severity of punishment. It would be insane to punish someone for being a fraction of a second too late, but causes an injury, more than a player trying to injury, but failing.

    I hate Man U plenty, but this was a very mildly reckless challenge by Evans. I had to watch it three times to even be convinced that it was worthy of a red card. Holden just flew in so quickly and fearlessly that I looked look Evans was too slow. Sucks for Holden and the US National team. We lose our most exciting prospect and are stuck with a limited central midfield and an empty bucket for even longer.

  77. rick says:


  78. jtm says:

    I recorded it & was finishing it yesterday – and thinking – how I don’t get a caught up in the Bradley Father son stuff – but Holden just looked so good and I was thinking this is going to be tough – Son riding the pine at Villa – Holden looking world class – he has to have Holden in middle – and then this happens -and I just got bummed out and even more so with this news..

  79. fischy says:

    It could be an injury to his patelar tendon (kneecap), but looking at still photos of the gash, I’d guess Evans’ studs ripped into Stu’s medial collateral ligament (MCL).

  80. fischy says:

    He’s a soccer player whose primary asset is his speed….so, it could hurt.

  81. Hoodoo says:

    United fans seem to hate evans because they think he’s not as good as the player that should be playing there… they had a lot of people out so he got to play, I saw a lot of comments that said “Evans sucks anyways get rid of him already”

    so im sure united fans could care less if he wasnt even on the team lol, then again if he wasnt on the team he would be playing for another

  82. Hoodoo says:

    May 16, 2009 … Red Bulls defender Carlos Johnson is set to miss a considerable amount of time after being diagnosed with a broken left foot on Saturday

  83. Hoodoo says:

    Better than him not apologizing at all like DeJong, who Stu stated in reports that he never apologized and would’ve forgave him if he had.

    What apology could Evans say? I’m sure he feels horrible about it. DeJong didn’t feel A THING and his tackle was very late and malicious.

  84. ... says:

    No, watch it again. Holden went in with the top/side of his foot, not his studs.

  85. Seb says:

    Disagree. We love him bc he is a very good. If he played with heart, but was no good, you folks would be tearing him and labeling him as cr**. Bad decision. Let that ball run. Else, go play rugby.

  86. manufan101 says:

    holden is unlucky to be injured it was a reckless challenge by Johnny. i feel sad and he will be missed by the USMNT. when he comes back though he will be better than ever.

  87. Eric says:

    Let’s just hope there arent any long lasting negative effects and he has a speedy recovery.

  88. Luke says:

    Oh well since your not buying it, then i guess that must make it wrong. I mean your right, it only takes 2 games to get back to full match fitness and form. But your right, he never would have been picked if he wasn’t at full match fitness….except for the fact that there really wasn’t anyone else to pick instead of him considering the options at that point and time. But yeah, you sure convinced me.

  89. Brent McD says:

    Really a shame, Holden has had the worst luck! His play in the Premier League this season was among the best overseas performances by an American ever. Hoping for a speedy, full recovery. But perhaps in the future he should be more judicious about sliding into these 50/50 situations. It’s not always worth it. Pick your battles.

  90. Brent McD says:

    Gutted. Just tragic and cruel on so many levels.

    Dynamo were setting up a friendly with Bolton this summer, primarily as a way to bring Holden back to Houston. I imagine that game is off now.