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After successful surgery, MTL's Rivas targets 2013 return

Nelson Rivas, Montreal Impact (May 26, 2012)

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

MONTREAL – Nelson Rivas’ 2013 preseason has officially begun.

The Colombian defender, the Montreal Impact’s first-ever signing as an MLS club, underwent microfracture surgery in his left knee and will be sidelined for five months, effectively ending his 2012 season.

Rivas watched the Impact train for a few minutes at Montreal’s Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard on Tuesday morning. While he did not address the media, he appeared upbeat, waving to his concerned teammates.

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“In these situations, your thoughts are more with Nelson than the team in particular,” head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters. “The initial signs and feedback is that the surgery went really well and that everybody’s very optimistic about his recovery. We’re all supporting him right now.”

It has been an injury-laden first season in MLS for Rivas. The center back only featured in 11 games, though he does have an assist to show for the 858 minutes of competitive action he managed.

Rivas had shown promise during an impressive MLS debut in Kansas City on May 5. He played 62 minutes and collected MLSsoccer.com’s Man of the Match mention, but injury caught up with him soon after the re-opening of Stade Saputo in mid-June.

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Hassoun Camara, who started seven of Rivas’ 11 matches, looked particularly upset with his teammate’s season-ending injury. The French defender explained that, having already been keeping track of Rivas’ career before both men even moved to North America, he could tell how bad luck has been following him around.

“And it's a shame that injuries hurt his season like that,” Camara added. “He could have done a lot more than he was physically able to do. I hope he'll recover quickly and that he'll be fully ready for next season.”