Javier Morales underwent approximately two hours of surgery on Monday to repair the fracture-dislocation and torn ligaments of his left ankle, which he suffered after a tackle by Chivas USA forward Marcos Mondaini on Saturday.
RSL team physician Dr. Andrew Cooper performed the procedure, and though the surgery went well, the 31-year-old Morales is expected to be out of action until October.
“When you look at ultimate recovery, I think age plays a little bit of a role into this,” Cooper told reporters in a conference call on Monday. “That October range is, I think, our goal, but an hour-and-a-half after surgery you never know what’s going to come up.”
Cooper was one of the first to attend to Morales as he lay on the field immediately after the injury, correcting the dislocation and applying a splint in order to stabilize the ankle for transport to the hospital.
The doctor admitted that the injury “was fairly gruesome to see.” However, he was very pleased with the results of the surgery.
“It came together anatomically," Cooper said. "That always gives you the potential for perfect."
After resetting the bone, applying a plate and screws to the fractured fibula and repairing the torn deltoid ligament, Cooper said that “there were no surprises in the surgery.”
This is the third surgery Cooper has performed on Morales, previously working on the Argentine's knee and shoulder. The doctor noted that Morales has shown an ability to recover quickly in the past, which bodes in his favor.
The recovery period can be broken down into three general phases. The first phase will be non-weight bearing and typically lasts up to six weeks. The second phase involves progressing from walking to a more normal range of motion in the joint, but that will be done while Morales is still wearing a supportive boot. This phase can take from the six-week all the way through to three-month months following surgery.
However, the final stage is the most unpredictable. Morales will begin running while gradually building up to more soccer-specific movements, but this phase of recovery can take up to five months post-surgery.
Meanwhile, club GM Garth Lagerwey indicated that Morales has a positive attitude, which will only serve to help him recover faster.
“You just don’t see stuff like this very often,” Lagerwey said. “Players and staff were distraught during the game. It’s just something you’ve got to get over and put behind you, and the best way to do it is to see Javi. He’s been so positive and so confident himself that he can get back on the field for us this year.
“The timetable is such that we might get Javi back this season. That’s very encouraging.”