Ryan Nelsen says Jermain Defoe out through September, another blow to injury-ravaged Toronto FC

TORONTO – Toronto FC was rocked with another big injury after it was revealed Friday that English forward Jermain Defoe would be sidelined until the end of September with a right adductor strain. 

Defoe was recently sidelined for three games with a groin issue that he seemed to have overcome after featuring in Toronto FC’s 2-2 draw Saturday with the Chicago Fire. He came off in the 77th minute of that match, however, and it turns out that Defoe had aggravated the injury.

He could potentially miss up to six games during Toronto FC’s most crucial period of the season as the club continues working toward a historic first playoff appearance with New England up next Saturday at home (5 pm ET; MLS Live).

“Jermain will be out,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen told reporters at training Friday. “He still hasn’t recovered. It looks like it’s going to be a bit of a long-term issue with him in the groin area. Fingers crossed it's short-term, but we probably have to plan for a bit of a longer-term.”

The bright side, Nelsen said, is it’s not season-ending.

“It’s in the sports hernia area, and with some of them, you can get away with it with maintenance or if you take couple weeks off,” Nelsen said. “But it’s not settling down, so we have to go see a specialist. We just await the results."

In response to the injury, Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko issued a challenge to the rest of his squad, telling The Canadian Press it’s time for his squad "to take it up a notch."

With Gilberto and Luke Moore scoring last weekend and Bright Dike back in action on the bench, Toronto has reinforcements up top to replace Defoe. However, Toronto FC’s backline is wavering on dangerously thin ice at the moment, with numerous injuries forcing the club to recall Ryan Richter from his loan at Ottawa Fury FC.

Warren Creavalle’s not available either,” Nelsen said. “Justin Morrow and Steven Caldwell, they’re not available, and Mark Bloom will probably be struggling with sleep deprivation at the moment.” 

Nelsen was referring to Bloom having his “world completely rocked” following he and his wife Emma celebrating the birth of their daughter on Thursday, a bit of good news from the team camp. Nelsen said he expects Bloom to be available.

Full backs Bradley Orr and Ashtone Morgan will most likely see more playing time as the season and the month of September rolls on.

“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Nelsen said, of the two. “It’s a really important game, so it’s a lovely opportunity for guys to come in and stamp their mark.”