Jordan Morris will return to the United States to prepare for surgery, which will be conducted by the same doctor that repaired his torn ACL in 2018. Dr. Bert Mandelbaum operates out of Santa Monica, Calif. Morris tore his left ACL on Saturday while on loan to the Championship’s Swansea City.
“First and foremost, we have been in touch with Jordan and he has our full support during this difficult time for him and his family,” Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team statement. “It’s important to us that he get the best care possible, as well as the most comfortable environment to recover.
“Having gone through this before in 2018, seeing Jordan suffer another injury of this nature makes it equally devastating and hopeful. We know first-hand the resilience of his character and look forward to the day he steps on the soccer field again. In the meantime, we’re focused on welcoming him home and making sure he has the full support of our club.”
Assuming Morris will be on a similar timeline as his previous injury, it will likely take at least 6-9 months for him to return. In 2018, the Sounders and Morris were relatively conservative with his recovery and even though he was able to return to training before the end of the season, it was a little more than a year between competitive appearances.
In the meantime, the Sounders will have limited ability to replace Morris. They will get some salary cap relief by virtue of Swansea City paying Morris’ salary for the first half of the season. In addition to about half his salary coming off the books, the Sounders also recover some of the allocation money they would have otherwise had to spend. That likely nets them at least $500,000 in added flexibility.
For better or worse, however, that was money the Sounders were already expecting to have and had said they were likely going to hold off on using it at least until a new sporting director was hired.
In theory, at least, the Sounders can receive additional relief if they place Morris on the season-ending injury list, the key provisions of which are:
- The injured player must be earning at least $100,000 per annum.
- The injured player must have suffered the season-ending injury prior to the close of the Primary Transfer Window and the new player must be acquired as of such date.
- The replacement player may earn up to $250,000 but not more than the player who suffered the season-ending injury.
- A credit in the amount of the replacement player’s charge will be applied to the player who suffered the Season-Ending Injury. The club shall reimburse the League an amount equal to such credit.
- Clubs will only be allowed to sign one such replacement player per MLS League Season.
The only question would seem to be whether or not the Sounders can further reduce Morris’ cap hit from its already lowered amount. Assuming they can, the added cap space would be enough to sign a U-22 initiative player or a MLS veteran along the lines of a Harry Shipp.
In 2018, the Sounders elected not to ever place Morris on the season-ending injury list but the circumstances this time have some significant differences. The biggest difference is that Morris was not a senior-roster player last time, meaning there was very little salary-cap or roster relief the Sounders were even eligible to receive.
Still, the Sounders do not need to be in any rush to make a decision. The rules stipulate that they can wait until the close of the primary transfer window on June 1 to decide whether or not to place Morris on the season-ending injury list, which should give them time to better assess the timetable for his return. While somewhat unlikely, it’s at least broadly within the realm of possibility that Morris could be back by the end of summer.