DAVID SMITH - Thursday, October 8, 2009
After experiencing further problems during the rehabilitation of his left leg, Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones will be forced to miss another six weeks following surgery.
Having originally suffered a hairline fracture in his left tibia in as the team began training camp in June, the dual-citizen defensive midfielder had twice briefly resumed full training with the Gelsenkirchen-based team before being ultimately forced out for another three weeks of rehabilitation in mid-September when he felt discomfort arising from the metal plate inserted to stabilize the fracture.
During the course of this latest round of rehab, more problems arising from the plate led the team' chief therapist Egil Eliassen to recommend surgery to remove it all together, with the Frankfurt native having undergone the procedure on Tuesday.
With a minimum expected recovery time of six weeks, this will rule Jones out of Schalke's lineup until at least mid-November. However with this being the third delay in his recovery, the Bundesliga's current third-place team will likely err on the side of caution, raising the possibility of the Frankfurt native being force to wait until after the winter break to return.
As Jones is still awaiting for his petition to join the Stars and Stripes to be approved by FIFA and has not yet participated in any camps with his future teammates, this does nothing to change the previously unlikely chance of him spending any time with the team through the remainder of 2009.
Barring a mid-November World Cup qualifying playoff against a South American team, the next chance for Jones to take the field with the Americans would be at the annual Southern California training camp and friendly match in late-January.
As this camp does not fall on an official FIFA calendar date and directly conflicts with the Bundesliga calendar which already resumes play after it winter break in mid-January, Jones' participation can be considered an impossibility.
With qualification for the World Cup nearing completion, official FIFA calendar dates throughout the winter and spring months of 2010 are limited to only mid-week games, allowing European domestic leagues to finish by a mid-May deadline.
While any European-based friendly matches for Bob Bradley's men would allow Jones brief moments to work with the team, his first chance for any extended period of integration time will not come until the final camp prior to the tournament in May, assuming qualification.