Holden out six months after surgery reveals cartilage damage

Holden (Getty Images)

The news went from bad to worse for Stuart Holden in a matter of hours.

Previously thought to be missing six weeks of action after needing a routine follow-up procedure on his surgically repaired knee, now Holden is set to miss the next six months of action, according to his club, Bolton.

Holden reportedly underwent the procedure on Wednesday and it revealed cartilage damage, which severely alters his recovery timeline.

"It is a big, big blow for Stuart because he has worked so hard after he sustained the injury, but obviously the most important aspect is to ensure Stuart's well being and that's what we are focused on," Bolton manager Owen Coyle said on the club's website. "He went in for the procedure this afternoon and it was picked up that the cartilage was damaged and needed to be repaired, which has now happened, and we will now support Stuart as he begins his recovery."

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100 Responses to Holden out six months after surgery reveals cartilage damage

  1. Topher says:

    Terrible news for the USMNT.


  2. jonk says:

    Brutal. Hopefully he is able to keep his spirits up after being so close to returning.

  3. rambo says:

    Wish him the best that has to be tough for him

  4. Colin says:

    Damn. Brutal.

  5. Drew says:

    That is terrible news for him in general. When was his last match, either for Bolton or USMNT? Get better Stu

  6. Lake says:

    Good thing WC qualifying is so far off.

  7. Dan says:

    Are you kidding me?

    It is comical at this point.

    You have absolute pieces of dog crap like Tevez and Marquez and de Jong out there, yet guys like Stu, who by all accounts is a great guy, has luck like this.

  8. Aaron in StL says:

    Wow… unfortunate. Best of luck, best not to push to get back to soon at this point. Ensure it’s 100% ready, seems Bolton is handling it the right way.

  9. MikeM says:

    Absoluetly gutted.

    I’m curious about the timing of finding the cartilage damage. Is this something they couldn’t find during the initial surgery? Did it occur during recovery? If this was ever considered a possibility during his recovery, I think they might of metioned it. Any surgeons in the house?

  10. BF says:

    will he ever return to his previous form?

  11. JP says:

    This is gut wrenching… I can only imagine how he feels.

    Personally, I was on my way to a pro career when I was hit by a sequence of freak injuries. Thankfully I had a college education as a fall back option…

  12. hogatroge says:

    He’ll pull through yet again, and no injury can strip him of his best abilities, which are all mental. We should take comfort in the fact that the only damage (reported) has been to bone and cartilage. That stuff heals a lot better than ligament damage.

  13. A wise man once says:

    Man! Not again :( Poor guy.

  14. layne says:

    Curse you Johnny Evans!!!

  15. KKS says:

    He missed close to a year each with the eye socket and the broken leg, didn’t he? So I’m optimistic on that count.

  16. Will says:

    Major bummer. Bolton may be in for a relegation dog fight

  17. T Daddy says:


  18. TomG says:


  19. karbaz says:

    Damn it is months, thought it was weeks. Poor kid.

  20. BenMillion says:

    Aw, Jayzus.

    It’s John O’Brien all over again. Here’s hoping that once Stu gets all of this behind him he can stay injury free and have the career he deserves.

  21. Rowsdower says:

    From bad to worse. This sucks.

  22. cajun says:

    I’m certainly not a doctor. Is this a new injury? If this injury was monitored from the beginning, wouldn’t any cartilage damage easily show up on an MRI?…Stu has the worst luck and it’s hard to imagine that he only has 17 caps. That should easily be doubled, had it not been for Nigel DeJong and Johnny Evans.
    Hang in there Stu! We’re all rooting for you!!

  23. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    Dude just can’t stay healthy. He would make a great Arsenal player

  24. Two Cents says:

    All I can say !@#$!!!!! I was already disappointed that he needed to move up the follow up procedure to now and be out 6 weeks. But this? Man this sucks. All I can do now is pray that he recovers fully with no setbacks so he can lead our midfield as soon as possible. I’m glad Coyle seems like a good guy, as he isn’t risking Holden any more this season and let him get the procedure done now.

  25. Two Cents says:

    It was last Tuesday in the Carling Cup for Bolton. Played a full 90 minutes in a 2-0 win.

  26. vik says:

    sucks, poor guy.

  27. HitSquad says:

    Johnny Evans and Nigel De Jong should be shot.

  28. dan says:

    wow, that Fking sucks

  29. elgringorico says:

    I’m not a surgeon but I’ve had ACL/MCL repair on both knees and would probably say that the surgeons didn’t just MISS IT last time around. It probably developed sometime during the recovery and he couldn’t feel it. Some minor cartilage tears don’t cause any pain but can put you at significant risk to tear ligaments again, which could be what this is…

  30. dan says:

    this is why AC Milan keep their players goings forever, their med staff is a cut above the rest. Apparently Bolton’s is not

  31. Poo says:

    coming from a guy named hit squad??

  32. Stephen says:

    I wonder if he needs to come to the US and see Doctor Anderson (famous sports doc that does all the basketball and football players knee procedures). Seems as if this isn’t something that should not have happened. Of course, I’m no doctor, so it’s just speculation on my part.

    Either way, I hope he gets well soon.

  33. dainja says:

    well, this sucks for many reasons (his health, career, impact on the USMNT) but hell…I bet Bolton is doomed for relegation without him. So now he’ll have to complete his comeback next year in the Championship. DOUBLE SUCK.

  34. Scott A says:

    :( Work your way back again Stu

  35. Jim says:

    Brutal. I just feel awful for him.

    Can anyone remember a promising young player who had this many long term injuries and went on to have a good career? Cause I can’t, and it’s thoroughly depressed me.

  36. Thirsty McMee says:

    hmmm. well since he can’t, I’ll engage in a night of heavy drinking for him… poor lad!

  37. Train says:

    John O’brien 2.0

  38. jon says:

    awful for him, bolton and the us of a. mostly for him. but to lose a guy who was looking like our best mid-fielder, this is bad news for the klinsi era. really hope he can heal and return.

  39. jose says:

    No torres or holden in our mid who’s going to play cam?

  40. Luis F says:

    We got no food, no jobs…. our pets’ HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!

  41. said... says:

    torres isn’t a cam.

    how about those adu, benny, or donovon guys.
    since JK only wants one holding mid, as it should be. why not let Adu and Benny play in from of Jones/Bradley with donovan,Clint on wings?


    or take out either adu,benny and put donovon there, shea on wing,

  42. PurpleGold says:

    Sad news 4 mah dude STU HOLDEN aka TOO GOLDEN aka FRAGILE: HOLDEN WITH CARE. Get betta man we all rootin 4 yo comeback!!

  43. Stephen says:

    “It’s John O’Brien all over again.”

    Let’s hope not. Sheesh.

  44. Turd Ferguson says:


  45. eRic Griesheimer says:

    Man U blows. that sucks

  46. Answer says:

    He is not getting any younger and he has missed a SIGNIFICANT amount of time due to injuries. Thinking he will come back at or near his previous level might be a pipe dream.

  47. C(note) says:

    Everyone at home is thinking about you stu. Work hard and get back. We will be waiting for you

  48. Answer says:

    Your statement is a real leap in logic.

  49. Answer says:

    There were hopes he could turn into our best midfielder. At no point, however, in his brief USMNT career has he EVER been our best midfielder.

  50. Vincen says:

    I don’t know where he got his surgery done the first time bur I don’t think the great dr Andrews that repair NFL players would have let thus happen… I think biotics budget docs were the cause of this

  51. Vincen says:

    I don’t know where he got his surgery done the first time bur I don’t think the great dr Andrews that repair NFL players would have let thus happen… I think biotics budget docs were the cause of this

  52. jpc says:

    jesus, this guy can’t catch a break

  53. vincen says:

    It’s dr Andrews crackhead

  54. Polish Wonder says:

    My thought, too. Good players with bad luck.

  55. Bill says:

    Brutal. Can this poor kid catch a break

  56. Felix says:

    JOB Jr folks.

  57. MicahK says:

    Okay, I was wrong it is doomsday!!! :(

  58. KKS says:

    Again, he’s missed more time than this in the past. And he’s only 26, so it’s not like he’s Owen Hargreaves. He may well not get back to his previous level, but it’s not like he’s done for. I will choose to remain optimistic.

  59. wva97 says:

    Again, not a doc, but as someone who has seen a fair share of sports related knee surgeries, including ACL and microfracture, I’d say that cartilage damage can be worse than ligament damage depending on location. The six month period for cartilage damage makes me think the damage is significant or in a bad spot. Doesn’t mean he won’t be back to his old self, but ACLs are almost routine these days where as cartilage doesn’t regrow itself; it has to be repaired / replaced. Good luck Stu. We’re all rooting for you.

  60. wva97 says:

    Cartilage damage does show up on MRIs, but sometimes the extent of the damage can be hidden. For example, you can have a tear that isn’t exposing bone, but is in a spot that continued wear and tear would likely result in a large tear or significant damage. Think of it like a loose thread on a piece of clothing – sometimes you pull it and it’s no big deal; other times you ruin your sweater. Pure speculation, but that’s probably what the docs saw. Either something minor that needed major attention or something small that was in a bad spot and could lead to worse trouble.

  61. Jeff says:

    You’re what? Hoping that other players get hurt? Marquez only said what was on his mind about a crap team in a crap league. His frustrations, although handled poorly, are valid. Maybe he’s paying off the karma of having fans that hope for the injury to other players.

  62. martha says:

    US players need to stop going to that hack league. Notice how Mex players who play mostly on Mex and Spain dont have this problem? The one who seems to keep getting hurt is Chicharito n where does he play?

    so almost two years of injuries JOB part 2 im afraid.

  63. Joamiq says:


    With this level of constant injuries, it’s hard to believe he’ll ever play a major role for the national team.

  64. mastaliu says:

    I was surprised at his “recovery” given the injury he had is somewhat more complex than say an ACL. The fracture or even bruising of the tibia condyle usually includes cartilage damage. He might have re-injured the cartilage defect…I hope this doesn’t mean he had to have microfracure surgery like Convey, that can take years to feel recovered from depending on the location of the defect…good luck Stu, be patient!

  65. MI6 says:

    Way to make an overly personal insult about a meaningless mistake, pervert.

  66. kent says:

    At this point it’s best that he only comes back when he’s 100%. Good luck Stu! Positive vibes yo!

  67. Modibo says:

    Not really what Dan said. I think you’re reading too much into his statement of frustration and have your own axe to grind here.

  68. Modibo says:

    Or they need to ask Dempsey what he does to stay fit there… Do you think a player’s style and position have anything to do with it?

  69. John F says:

    It was done in London. However, he may indeed have been better off here in Birmingham.

  70. John F says:

    It was done in London. However, he may indeed have been better off here in Birmingham.

  71. GW says:

    Look at the bright side.

    Holden’s comeback was probably a little premature anyway.

    At least now he can take the time he needs. Serious knee injuries often take two years for complete recovery. And if he comes back as good as he was, even if Bolton is relegated, some team from the EPL will take him. At his salary he would be a real bargain.

  72. GW says:

    So you think athletes with knee injuries in the US never have these kind of setbacks unlike athletes in a primitve country like the UK?

    I remember when everyone was certain those incompetent French doctors were performing malpractice on Charlie Davies.

    It’s worth remembering that Holden is Bolton’s player. They pay his salary, not the US. And it is in their best interests to have him get the best medical care possible, wherever it is. And in fact Holden did much of his rehab here in the US of A.

  73. Thorpinski says:

    I rally hope the next time Man U visits for the Summer someone has the guts to take out one of their losers. Let SAF chew on that for a bit

  74. Dan says:

    Your reading comprehension isn’t that great, is it? Never once said I wished injury. I was pointing out how Stu, despite being such a great guy in a sport with so many a-holes, has to deal with such horrible injury luck.

    I assume due to your sheer arrogance, snobbery and defense of that piece of garbage dirty player Marquez you’re an El Tri fan, so I’ll give you a pass on the reading comp as that’s to be expected from that lot.

    Marquez chose to play for that “crap team in a crap league” and his points are not valid because he himself has been terrible and the team has clearly been better in his absence.

    But besides that, great post!

  75. GW says:

    “no injury can strip him of his best abilities, which are all mental.”

    I disagree.

    He’s an athlete and therefore relies on his body.

    He’s not playing competitive chess.

    Your statement reminds me of something Pele once said to the effect that:

    ” In my mind I am still as great a player as ever but my body no longer obeys my mind. A great player has to be able to run and I can’t do that anymore”

    Stu needs his body to be at a certain level for him to perform properly.

  76. GW says:

    That’s not really a good comparison.

    Stu is really popular and he is undoubtedly a fine player but he has never really made an impact on the USMNT.

    His greatest games have been for Bolton, not the US. Maybe Stu can do it in 2014 but he has done nothing yet.

    In contrast JOB played every minute of the 2002 World Cup,and was a vital part of arguably the US’ best effort ever. And he is arguably one of the best players the US has ever produced. Donovan said that.

    As for the injuries, JOB’s started piling up towards the end and eventually ended his career. Hopefully Holden will come back stronger from this one. He has always been rated as one of the USMNT’s fittest players along with Donovan so there is reason to hope he will have a long career.

  77. MicahK says:

    Whoa there!!! Please calm down with using the GD swear word, please. It is offensive. Thanks 😀

  78. Dudinho says:

    its John o brien all over again geesh

  79. Hush says:

    I called Stu as the next John O early this year… I has hoping to be wrong.

    Sadly he could of been one of the best U.S players to have ever worn the jersey. Hope the best for him.


  80. Hush says:

    It’s the Internet, deal with it, or get away from public forums. You sound like the whinners on YouTube.

  81. MicahK says:

    Why dont you do what your user name is and HUSH because no one was even talking to you. Holden missing six months is not something that drastic where people got to use offensive profanity. SMH, get off my post you sound very ignorant.

  82. David says:

    Never go into a tackle with Johnny Evans…or Nigel de Jong.

  83. gtv says:

    To quote the late, great Florida Evans…”Dayum. Da-YUM. DA-YUM!”

  84. Answer says:

    God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit! God damnit!

  85. MicahK says:

    -___- As Charlie Brown said Good Grief, SMH.

  86. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Holy hell, the guy can’t catch a break. Chin up Stu, we’re all rooting for you!

  87. ben in el cajon says:

    FSM smite thee!

  88. TimN says:

    That’s really bad news…repairing cartilage damage can be very difficult. Six months is essentially the season. What a blow to his promising career…This is the very reason that FIFA needs to crack down on hacks like DeJong and Evans. Tackles like that deserve LONG suspensions.

  89. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    While I’m sure Stu’s devastated, and a lot of players in his position would be losing it about now and rightfully so, I have to believe if any player can come through this – it’s him. Kid is so positive, good energy and that can take you far.

    I keep hear Reyna explaining all his injuries away when the Red Bulls siging him saying the doctors told him that he missed close to three years with the various injuries combined, the good news is his body was that of a 29 year old, not a 32 year old (or whatever his age was). Well, we see how that turned out.

    Let’s hope for the best the best and push away those thoughts of JOB 2.0.

  90. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    That’s a very mature, positive example for all the young players who come to this fine site. Or maybe you’re 12 yourself. Either way, revenge through injury isn’t the answer. Never was, never will be.

  91. Wendell Gee says:

    Well….JOB did manage to play 90 minutes in every match in one of the very best individual WC performances in US history. In the most successful US WC ever at that. So from a purely USMNT perspective, if we get that out of Holden, I would still be fairly happy.

  92. Jay says:

    Wow, you are a tool

  93. MicahK says:

    And grow up I bet you are some 10 year old kid who parents left the computer unlocked and you are on it.

  94. Taylor says:

    Jeff: a fine example of the douchebaggery that ensues on the comments section of this site. you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. Marquez himself has been a huge reason for the defensive frailty of the Red Bulls. yea, Ream isn’t perfect, but a defensive unit is just that: a unit. regardless of how you feel about your teammates, you never say that crap to the media, even if it is true, which it isn’t

    you. are. a. tool

  95. JrDosSantos says:

    No one is comparing the SKILL LEVELS between JOB and Holden.

    Like the title says, its about being out due to injuries.

    Only thing we need to worry about is him coming back fully healthy and getting a chance to start for the USMNT.

    He should’ve started in the WC over Ricardo Clark after battling back to get to the WC and playing friendlies beforehand to show he had fitness.

  96. bryan says:

    this is ridiculous! wtf is going on. God hates Holden.

  97. bryan says:

    nothing happens when you die :)

  98. Vman says:

    so does this mean he was rushed back before his knee was really ready to hold up to the rigors of professional football? Or is this a fluke thing?