Portland Timbers captain and two-time MLS All-Star midfielder Will Johnson has undergone successful surgery in Toronto to stabilize a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg suffered during the Timbers’ match on Saturday at BMO Field.
Johnson is expected to miss six months of action while recovering from the injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the regular season and the postseason, if the Timbers can qualify.
Johnson was injured just seconds into the match against Toronto FC when he and Reds defender Mark Bloom collided legs while going to the ground for a loose ball near midfield. There was no foul called on the play and while he was clearly shaken up on the field, Bloom escaped the collision without serious injury.
Johnson, meanwhile, immediately signaled to the Timbers’ bench for assistance and clutched his lower right leg in pain. He was stretchered off the field and immediately taken to a Toronto hospital. TFC ended up winning the game, 3-2.
"As a player and as a competitor, you hate to see anybody get hurt,” said TFC midfielder Michael Bradley, Johnson's close friend. “But that’s one of [my] closest friends; it’s not nice at all. They both went in very hard. On the one hand you expect that they would both pop right up, and on the other hand that play had a hard edge going to it. You could even hear the way they crashed into each other and you kind of knew that that was a hard one.”
A mainstay in the Timbers lineup since he joined the club via trade from Real Salt Lake ahead of the 2013 season, Johnson has six goals and two assists in 29 appearances this season. He was named by head coach Caleb Porter to the MLS All-Star team earlier this summer, his second straight selection for the mid-summer showcase since leaving RSL.
"I thought we both went in clean; no one went in dirty and it’s just unfortunate that someone had to come out like that," Bloom said.
This will mark the first time in seven years that Johnson will not play in the MLS postseason. He made the playoffs five straight seasons with RSL before leading the Timbers to their first-ever MLS playoff berth last year.
The Timbers – who fell out of a playoff position with the loss to Toronto FC – return to action on Oct. 4 at San Jose.