Many did not notice, but Mohammed Saeid was also on the injury report with a serious-sounding injury as well. Saeid was diagnosed with a broken back. While this sounds serious, it is unlikely we have a humpty-dumpty situation on our hands.
What does it mean to break your back?
Well, it means everything and nothing. We all have 33 vertebrae (the bones that make up our spine and protect our spinal cord) that cover five different areas of the spine. When you hear someone broke their back, what it means is someone broke one of these vertebrae. Depending on which of the five areas the vertebrae is in, the type of fracture, and any other compounding injuries determines how serious the injury is.
Saied was likely injured (in part) in the Philadelphia game. This means his injury is probably localized to the vertebrae itself due to a knock and other areas aren't affected. It is also significant that Saied walked off under his own power. This leads to the belief that his break is not of the debilitating type that we associate broken backs with.
How did this happen?
Most spinal fractures are a result of serious trauma. Such as falling from a building, or getting in between Conor Casey and Keegan Rosenberry. We can assume Saeid didn't do either of these so we'll focus on the type of fracture that is more commonly associated with athletes. These are called stress fractures. They most often occur in the small wing-like portions of the vertebrae.
Let's assume Little Mo has a stress fracture. This could have happened gradually until playing soccer put too much stress on the vertebrae and it develops many tiny cracks. Taking a hit to the lumbar region was probably (heh) the straw that broke the camels back (heh heh). Once this occurred, the tiny cracks could have reached the point where they caused too much discomfort for Saied to continue activity. Another possibility (and even probability) is that the bone itself slipped out of place causing pressure on nerves leading to debilitating shooting pains.
How is it treated?
Good news everyone! Rest. No surgery needed in most cases. The bone needs periods of inactivity to heal the cracks and once this occurs Mo will be good as new. Stress fractures almost always are caused by overuse without enough rest. Runners often get them in their shins, and soccer players are prone to them as well due to soccer being a nine month long season with little opportunity for rest.
When can we expect Saied back?
He will likely not miss significant time. This type of injury can heal quickly with rest and anti-inflammatory medications. If Saeid misses more than four weeks I would be surprised. In fact, it may not even take that long. Saeid could easily be back by the end of June or early July.
What can we expect when Little Mo comes back?
This is where the major difference between Saeid's injury and Federico Higuain's. When Saeid comes back, he should be at 100% almost immediately. Stress fractures usually don't linger as long as the athlete stays sidelined long enough. If Saeid feels good in training the increased game speed shouldn't hamper him too much. The psychological impact of a stress fracture is also much less than of a soft tissue injury. If Saeid comes back too soon, he will only experience minor discomfort. He can probably play through this at 90% and take it easy in practice for the next week without any signifiant setbacks.
Until the next injury Crew SC fans.