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Real Salt Lake's Sunday Stephen to miss at least six weeks after surgery

Real Salt Lake will be without midfielder Sunday Stephen for at least six weeks, the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Friday.

The Nigerian midfielder is set to undergo surgery next Wednesday to repair multiple facial fractures he suffered in a collision with New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles early in RSL’s 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.

“It’s a very complex fracture,” RSL team physician Dr. Andrew Cooper told the newspaper, likening the injury to one suffered by RSL’s Chris Schuler in October 2014 that kept him off the playing field for over a month.

Sunday Stephen, also know as ‘Sunny’, joined RSL ahead of the 2016 season and earned his place in the starting lineup from the get-go. He currently has a goal and an assist over 12 appearances for the Claret-and-Cobalt.

Though RSL general manager Craig Waibel said the injury would “make us a bit more active in the league” with the summer transfer window opening on July 4, he also cited the team’s midfield depth as a reason for fans to stay calm.

RSL will be welcoming back mainstay Kyle Beckerman from international duty after the conclusion of the Copa America Centenario this weekend, while Luke Mulholland, John Stertzer, Jordan Allen, and rookie SuperDraft pick Omar Holness – who is close to returning from an injury of his own – can also fill in for Sunny.

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