Chicago Red Stars announced midfielder Shannon Boxx will undergo an exploratory arthroscopic surgery on her right knee today and could be out for an extended period of time.
The 35 year-old U.S. Women’s National Team veteran has been experiencing swelling and pain for the past several months and decided now is the time to undergo the procedure in hopes of being back on the field with both her club and national team as soon as possible.
“I would have loved to continue playing during the start of Red Stars season as well as be available for the game in Canada,” said Boxx. “But the pain was not subsiding, so in talking to all my coaches and athletic trainers on both teams, it seemed like the best time to get the procedure done so I can be one-hundred percent and pain-free again for both club and country.”
The procedure is a minor one, checking for pieces of loose cartilage that can be cleaned up during the operation. Pending results of diagnosis, the Red Stars could be without their holding center mid for 4-6 weeks. This also means Boxx will most likely be unavailable the U.S. National Team’s rematch of Canada on June 2 at BMO field in Toronto.
“We are very disappointed to lose Shannon for these next few weeks, but she has worked through a significant amount of pain and swelling since she arrived at camp,” Chicago Red Stars Head Coach Rory Dames said. “It’s definitely the right decision for her to get this surgery done now, and we will be careful with her rehab so as not to jeopardize her ability to represent club or country.”
Thanks for all the well wishes. Just a minor surgery to get me back to 100%. Just another obstacle to beat. #alwaysforwardneverstraight
— Shannon Boxx (@ShannonBoxx7) April 30, 2013
What does this mean for Chicago?
Without Shannon Boxx, the Red Stars are looking at 4-6 weeks without any U.S. allocated players. Chicago is currently sitting at the bottom of the standings in a three-way tie with the Western New York Flash and Seattle Reign with one point each.
Fortunately for the Red Stars, it is still early in the season giving them time to adjust to the temporary lose of the holding center. Chicago strength comes in the midfield with Boxx playing a central role, especially in the recent game against the Portland Thorns.
The Red Stars could return to the lineup that was similar to their first week against the Reign, dropping Ella Maser into the center and having Lauren Fowlkes or Jessica McDonald start up top in a likely 4-5-1 formation.
The next few weeks could see NWSL standings start to take shape, the Red Stars could have used Boxx’s leadership and experience to make sure they do not stay on the bottom of the rankings. Chicago has the tools but will need to work hard in order to overcome this minor setback.