DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Hannover 96 team captain Steve Cherundolo is set to miss a minimum of four weeks of preseason training due to an injury suffered in the Gold Cup final.
Cherundolo lasted only 11 minutes of last Saturday's final before being pulled from the game with what looked to be a sprained ankle as the team led Mexico 1-0.
While the US did manage to take a 2-0 lead shortly thereafter, his leadership and strong play in the back was visibly missed as a defensive collapse saw their opponents score four unanswered goals.
An MRI taken in the US this week revealed that the damage was more extensive than was hoped by all parties, with a torn ligament expected to keep him out for the next month.
"This is naturally some bitter news for the player and for us, and severely disturbs our pre-season preparations," Hannover head coach Mirko Slomka stated through their website.
"However Stevie will be fit again soon and will be a very important pillar for our team in the new season," Slomka concluded.
The German 1. Bundesliga is schedule to begin during the first weekend in August, with Hannover opening the season at home against TSV 1899 Hoffenheim.
Their first competitive game of the 2010-11 term, is one week beforehand when they visit FC Anker Wismar in the first round of the DFB Cup.
While having their captain back to full strength and back on the field for the Cup opener could be a stretch, should his recovery go well he would miss little to no time at the start of the Bundesliga campaign.
Hannover will also have European competition to contend with this season, however will have until August 18 to have their captain back to full strength when they enter the Europa League playoff round.