The Vancouver Whitecaps are now in search of a temporary captain and a starting defender after Jay Demerit ruptured his Achilles tendon during last Saturday's 1-0 win over Toronto FC.
The 33 year old DeMerit has been bothered by Achilles tendonitis in the recent past, and the team initially diagnosed the injury as a left calf strain. However, coach Martin Rennie confirmed after practice that he tore his Achilles. Rennie said DeMerit will be out for "quite a long time", with some reports saying it could take from six to eight months, depending on how long it takes from him to recover from the surgery he had on Monday.
"It's a likely risk, because he trained all week, and even last season, his Achilles tendon was sore at times. So it's just one of those things that did happen. But I just feel for him," said Rennie about the decision to play DeMerit last Saturday.
DeMerit tweeted a picture of himself at the hospital, saying he was "super bummed out" but trying to remain positive.
Rennie isn't terribly concerned about finding a replacement for DeMerit, saying, "We have people who can play in those positions, and we do have good leadership on our team. So we'll be able to go forward strong. Obviously it's a blow, but I don't think it's something that we need to use as an excuse."
Andy O'Brien, the team's other starting central defender on the four-man backline, says that the Whitecaps have lost a "big personality" and talented player in DeMerit, but will have to make do without him. "We've got players in that position and every position. You might need for certain people to step up to the plate in certain respects. It's unfortunate for DeMerit, but we have to go into the next game now."
Rennie is hopeful DeMerit's athleticism will help him miss the minimum amount of time. "The thing with Jay is that Jay's a bit of a freak athlete. He's one of those guys who always tests really well, always recovers really well. If he does the right things in the rehab and does the right things off the field for the time that he's out then I have no doubt at all that he'll be back."
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