Gaston Sauro - Columbus Crew SC - Heads balls vs. Chicago

The calendar hasn’t even flipped to 2017 yet, but Columbus Crew SC have already revealed that defender Gaston Sauro will miss all of next season due to multiple upcoming knee surgeries.

Crew SC head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter told The Columbus Dispatch on Monday that Sauro, 26, will undergo surgeries on the same left knee that limited him to just 13 appearances in 2016. The recovery time from the surgeries will keep him out for all of next year.

“It’s going to be a number of surgeries he’s going to get and he’s going to be out for the year,” Berhalter told the Dispatch. “That’s our reality. It’s a tough reality, but that’s the way it is.”

Berhalter said that Sauro’s contract is guaranteed for the 2017 season. The Argentine center back was signed by Columbus from FC Basel using Targeted Allocation Money in the summer of 2015, but suffered a concussion in his first game with the club that limited him to just four regular-season appearances that year. He returned in time for the playoffs, starting four games to help Crew SC qualify for MLS Cup.

Sauro began the 2016 season healthy, but suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out for three games in April before tearing the PCL in his left knee on May 21. That injury kept him out until September, and played a large role in keeping him to just 13 league appearances last season.

The Dispatch reported that Columbus will look to add at least one starting center back this winter. Crew SC traded center back Michael Parkhurst to Atlanta last week, signed center back Nicolai Naess this summer and signed University of Maryland center back Alex Crognale to a Homegrown Contract on Tuesday. Berhalter added that Sauro is currently in Columbus and is scheduled for another surgery in the coming weeks.