AMSTERDAM — Stuart Holden will be out of action for possibly another six months, Bolton announced on Wednesday after follow-up surgery on the US midfielder's left knee revealed an unexpected cartilege tear.
The 26-year-old suffered a hairline fracture of the condyle (a round bump on the bone near the knee joint) during a match against Manchester United on March 19 and only made his Bolton first-team return last week after a long rehabilitation process.
Wednesday's procedure was intended to be a routine follow-up, and Bolton had expected the former Houston Dynamo star to miss only six weeks. But the discovery of the torn cartilege was a surprise for both player and club.
"Floored, devastated, gutted, just a few words I can think of," Holden tweeted on Wednesday following the surgery. "I will continue to fight and I'm ready for another tough journey."
Holden had made a cameo return with 90 minutes in a Carling Cup win over Aston Villa last week before doctors altered his recovery course by moving the follow-up operation forward. Despite missing the final eight EPL games last term, the 26-year-old was named Bolton's Player of the Season.
"It is a big, big blow for Stuart because he has worked so hard after he sustained the injury," Wanderers boss Owen Coyle told the club's official website. "Obviously, the most important aspect is to ensure Stuart's well-being and that's what we are focused on.
Moving on for now without Holden, Wanderers will try to climb off the bottom of the EPL standings and snap a five-game losing streak when they host Chelsea on Sunday.