From the moment his right shoulder dug into the pitch beyond the south endline at Livestrong Sporting Park, surgery wasn't an “if” for Jacob Peterson.
The “when” has finally come for the Sporting Kansas City winger, who delayed his operation until after the season so he could help his club's push to a second straight finish atop the East standings. He will undergo surgery on Friday and is expected to be sidelined for four months.
“Four months from Friday is March-ish,” Peterson told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Wednesday. “So obviously I'm going to try to get back as fast as I can, but also it's a long season. So if that means I have to sit out a couple more weeks and make sure it's strong and healthy and my body's feeling good – because what you don't want to have happen is getting to the point where you keep getting hurt. We're going to take it slow, but I'm not the type who likes to be off the field.”
That's a big reason for Peterson's decision to postpone surgery after being hurt in the second half of Sporting's 2-1 loss to Columbus on July 28.
“I can't sit here and say it was comfortable, but it was just one of those things,” said Peterson, who scored a career-high four goals in his first season in Kansas City. “We knew it wasn't going to get any worse, really, and if I could handle the pain then I could play.”
He came back in mid-September and was a key player for Sporting down the stretch, scoring his fourth goal in the 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Oct. 24 that clinched their first-place finish.
“There were moments where it was rough,” Peterson said. “But for the most part, when you're out in a game, especially when the adrenaline's high, you're not really thinking about it. It's more the time period after the game, when the edge was taken off, that you start thinking about it a little more.”
The good news, he said, is that he'll be able to resume fitness work relatively soon after the surgery.
“One of the good things about a shoulder, as opposed to a lower body injury, is that I can keep my fitness and technical work and keep my work on the ball and everything,” Peterson said. “I can continue to do that after about the first month to six weeks. I should be able to start running and get my fitness back. So once I do come back, it won't be as big an uphill challenge as it would if it was a lower body injury.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.