DC United defender Steve Birnbaum undergoes second surgery on ankle, out for three months

Steve Birnbaum - DC United - closeup

D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum has undergone a second offseason surgery on his ankle, he announced Monday on his official Twitter account. 

The club later announced in a team statement that Birnbaum is expected to be sidelined for approximately 12-15 weeks as he completes rehabilitation.

Birnbaum underwent the first procedure on the ankle back in January and was initially expected to be sidelined for 8-12 weeks after missing the last eight matches of the 2020 campaign with the injury. According to Monday's statement from the club, the additional procedure was deemed necessary to decompress nerves and remove part of the talus bone with chronic inflammation.

It's a big loss for D.C. ahead of the start of the regular season, as the 30-year-old center back has been a linchpin for D.C.'s back line since making his club debut in 2014, starting 171 of his 173 appearances, racking up 15,293 minutes and establishing himself as one of the league's top players at the position. He signed a three-year contract extension with the club last March.

With Birnbaum out of action, Frederic BrillantDonovan Pines and SuperDraft pick Michael DeShields are among the other options at the position on United's roster under new head coach Hernan Losada.