BURNABY, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps forward Atiba Harris is expected to miss five weeks after yet another meniscus surgery.
If it seems like deja vu, that's because it is: This is the third on his right knee since the beginning of last season.
The first surgery came in April 2011, the second in August, when he had his meniscus removed. Those procedures limited Harris to only five matches in 2011, as he failed to return to action after the initial surgery in April.
This season, he played in four matches before the knee acted up again.
“When somebody gets the same surgery three times, then obviously you can’t deny you’re a little bit concerned about that,” head coach Martin Rennie told MLSsoccer.com after a training session this week. “For me, I haven’t been able to see Atiba play consistently and that’s been a shame, because I know he’s very well-regarded in the league and a lot of people like him."
“I know he’s got a lot of work rate and strength. Last season he scored and got assists for the team so it’s been hard for us not having him, but more so from a personal point of view I just want him to get better and get back to playing soccer."
Harris’ second surgery, which took place in August, was a meniscectomy, in which the meniscus in his knee was removed. This third surgery last week was essentially a clean up after some remnants of the meniscus were left loose in the knee.
“As far as I understand it, the meniscus was clipped,” Rennie said. “It wasn’t fully removed, and as far as I understand it, there was something still in there from the previous surgery that had to be removed, which isn’t that uncommon – sometimes the meniscus comes loose, so I think that was taken out.”
As for the player himself, he is keeping his spirits up as much as he can.
"Thanks for all the support and well wishes... Everything happens for a reason. Love u guys. Will be back stronger #roadtorecovery," Harris tweeted recently.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.