Inter Miami midfielder Jean Mota out 4-6 months with knee injury

Jean Mota

Inter Miami CF’s midfield must weather another massive injury blow.

The club announced Thursday morning that Jean Mota will be sidelined for 4-6 months following an upcoming surgery to repair a right LCL injury (knee). The 29-year-old Brazilian got hurt in the fifth minute of Miami’s 2-1 win at the Columbus Crew last weekend and played the remainder of the match.

Mota’s setback follows news in mid-March that captain and fellow deep-lying midfielder Gregore suffered a foot injury and could be out through mid-September. With Mota’s recovery timeline, he could be sidelined through roughly the same time period or longer.

There are no guarantees, but both players could return before the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs begin in late October (Decision Day is Oct. 21). Currently, Miami are 12th in the Eastern Conference table with a 3W-6L-0D record before Matchday 11, looking to build off a Round One exit in 2022. The top nine teams in each conference make the postseason.

“Mota exhibited extreme toughness and fighting spirit by playing the full 90 minutes despite the pain to help us claim a very important win, even registering an assist in the match,” head coach Phil Neville said in a release. “We wish him a speedy recovery and offer our full support throughout his recovery process.”

Now what?

After Gregore’s injury, Miami signed Ecuador international Dixon Arroyo to patch up their midfield group. Now, if the Herons want to make a similar move, the league's Secondary Transfer Window doesn’t arrive for two months (July 5 to Aug. 2). Teams can still sign out-of-contract players in the meantime.

Accounting for injuries to Mota and Gregore, Miami’s midfield core now consists of veterans Arroyo and Victor Ulloa, as well as homegrowns David Ruiz and Benjamin Cremaschi. Robert Taylor and Rodolfo Pizarro can also play in midfield, though typically in more attacking roles.

Mota, 29, joined Miami ahead of the 2022 season from Brazilian side Santos FC. He has two goals and seven assists across 42 regular-season games (all starts).

After snapping a six-game losing streak last weekend, Miami return to action Saturday when hosting Atlanta United (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).