New MetroStars signee Youri Djorkaeff will be sidelined for four to six weeks due to a strained left hamstring. The attacking midfielder developed the injury while training with his new team in Ecuador.
"It's disappointing to Youri and the team that we have suffered a minor setback in our preparation for the season," said MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley. "Nonetheless, we are confident that we will have Youri ready to go as quickly as possible."
Djorkaeff signed with the MetroStars three weeks ago in one of the biggest player acquisitions of this MLS offseason, becoming just the third World Cup winner ever to sign with the league. He joined the Metros for training on March 1 in the midst of their preseason excursion to Ecuador.
Despite not playing in any of the club's matches in Ecuador, Djorkaeff quickly established himself as a team leader after meeting up with the squad in South America. During a media conference call Monday, Bradley praised Djorkaeff's professionalism and ability to guide the team's young players.
"He understands when you're in a situation like this in preseason it's not just what takes place on the field, but it's getting know players off the field, having time for the younger guys, all these things," Bradley said. "I think he has made a tremendous first impression in all those ways."
Though Djorkaeff has apparently had an immediate impact on the club in training, the Metros will now have to wait a little longer to see how he performs in a match. The MetroStars emphasized that the injury is not serious, characterizing it as just a bump in the road.
It is the second hamstring injury Djorkaeff has suffered in the last six months. In October, a hamstring injury helped bring to a close Djorkaeff's brief stint with English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers. The former French international had played just three matches for Rovers prior to the injury and did not return to the lineup prior to leaving Ewood Park.
"This is an unfortunate setback, but it is important to remember that it is only a strained hamstring," said MetroStars President and General Manager Nick Sakiewicz. "We are keeping him back for some rehab and fitness work, and we expect that he will be ready to go soon."
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.