Two days after Gaston Sauro left the game against Toronto FC with an injury, it is being reported that the Columbus Crew SC center back will miss at least four months.
Sauro tore the posterier cruciate ligament (PCL) in his left knee on Saturday during seemingly innocuous contact with Sebastian Giovinco near the touchline on a long ball from TFC right back Steven Beitashour in the 31st minute.
Sauro fell to the ground and appeared to immediately call for a sub before sitting and rubbing what looked like the outside of his upper left calf.
Defensive midfielder Wil Trapp dropped into a center back position temporarily until Rodrigo Saravia was subbed on in the 35th minute. Saravia, a rookie defensive midfielder, then filled in for Sauro the rest of the way.
CCSC coach Gregg Berhalter told the Columbus Dispatch's Shawn Mitchell that Sauro will not have surgery.
Crew SC was already without veteran backup center back Tyson Wahl, who suffered a concussion two weeks ago. It's unclear exactly when Wahl might be available for game selection, though he did return to practice on Monday
Beyond Michael Parkhurst, Wahl and Sauro, there are no center backs on the roster after Amro Tarek was cut on May 5.
Major League Soccer provides salary relief when a player suffers a season-ending injury, but because Sauro's absence is all but season-ending, that is not expected to be the case for the club.
Although he is not a designated player, Sauro is the team's second-highest paid player behind DP midfielder Federico Higuain. He joined the team during last summer's transfer window and made an immediate impact on the defense with his size and physicality, but has struggled to stay on the field. In less than a year with the club he has missed time due to injury on three different occasions, including a nagging hamstring injury suffered in April that already caused him to miss a month of this season. He also dealt with an injury to his right hand early this season, though it did not cause him to miss time.
The Argentinean suffered a concussion in 2015, shortly after the team signed him in early August, forcing him out of the lineup for three weeks.
The summer transfer window will not open until July 4, leaving the center back position on shaky ground for at least a month. The only option to add a player would be through a homegrown signing.