Jordan Morris is almost certainly going to miss all of the 2021 season after tearing his left ACL while on loan to Swansea City during the Seattle Sounders offseason, Garth Lagerwey acknowledged on Tuesday. This had long been the assumption and no one in the organization has ever strongly refuted this likelihood, but these comments are a more blunt than how the Sounders spoke about Morris’ previous ACL injury and apparently reflect a more severe injury.
“I don’t think it’s likely that he’s going to play for us this year,” Lagerwey said during his appearance on KJR’s Sounders Weekly. “It’s theoretically possible, but this knee injury was a little more serious than the first one. We gotta be patient. This is a kid in the prime of his career.”
Morris previously missed the entirety of the 2018 MLS season when he tore his right ACL during a Concacaf Champions League match. He then won Comeback Player of the Year in 2019 and was named MLS Best XI in 2020, posting back-to-back 10-goal seasons. He was so good last year that a move to Europe was the next logical step in his career.
That he effectively chose to go to the Championship with Swansea City was a little surprising, but the thinking was that they would be able to give him ample playing time and give him the type of showcase that could potentially set up an even bigger move. But Morris ended up only making five appearances — and just one start — before tearing his ACL on a non-contact play.
The Sounders will now focus on bringing him back for 2022.
“We have to put him in the best shape to have sustainable high performance,” Lagerwey said. “An athlete like him who’s so fast and so powerful, you have to take care of him. You have to be willing to be patient. We’re not going to rush him back just as we didn’t the last time. As a result I think it’s very unlikely that he’s going to play this year. Hopefully that sets him up for a very strong 2022.”
In the meantime, it remains unclear if the Sounders can recoup any additional salary-cap space. They’ve already cleared about half of Morris’ salary off their books as part of the loan, but it’s at least theoretically possible that they can get another $250,000 if they formally declare him out for the year.