TORONTO – Jermain Defoe missed most of the summer months with a groin injury, and the issue has reared its head once more as Toronto FC make their last-ditch bid for a playoff place.
TFC head coach Greg Vanney announced during training on Friday that the English forward has been sidelined again with the same injury, meaning the English striker will miss Toronto FC’s penultimate match against the Montreal Impact (Saturday, 2 pm ET, Univision Deportes, TSN1 in Canada, MLS LIVE in USA) after pain and inflammation set in during the week.
“He was sore coming out of last week [against the New York Red Bulls] and he came into Tuesday’s training and as the training session was progressing, we kind of noticed him feeling around and pushing on that area,” Vanney explained. “Even in that session, he was hitting shots in the run of play and kind of grimacing. So the next day, we kept him out of the session and then he came back in yesterday and said that it was painful.
“It was obviously inflamed again and he didn’t feel like he was good to go with it,” he continued. “So we’re going to check it out again and see where he’s at. Clearly he wasn’t 100 percent coming back. He was trying to work through it.”
Defoe, who wasn’t available for comment, has played in 19 league matches this year, netting 11 goals. He missed part of the summer to visit a specialist in the United Kingdom in order to treat the groin injury. The TFC Designated Player said that upon his return, the option for surgical treatment was presented to him, but he and his doctors opted not to take that route.
Vanney said it’s the kind of injury that doesn’t always just go away, though.
“It’s an accumulation, an overuse type of injury,” Vanney said. “When it gets inflamed, it starts to be debilitating. Because he wasn’t 100 percent, I think it just started to inflame again and he’s feeling it enough that he doesn’t feel like he can go.”
Vanney also said he knew what Defoe was going through, having suffered a similar injury during his playing career at French Ligue 1 side S.C. Bastia.
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“I had a version of it so I can empathize a bit, when I was in France,” Vanney said. “It was called osteitis pubis and once it inflames, it is a debilitating injury and it does take months to heal. Some players need surgery and some players will miss a full season.”
So does this rule out Defoe for the rest of the season, too?
“It’s hard to say,” Vanney answered. “We’ll see how tomorrow goes and we’ll see how he’s feeling if we can calm it down a little bit. If we can calm down the inflammation and the pain and he’s able to perform then we’ll see if we can get him back.”
Armen Bedakian covers Toronto FC for MLSsoccer.com.