In what has quietly been a good season for Impact players and their ability to avoid injuries, has now come to a halting stop with Bernardello's 73rd minute tackle attempt on the Union's Danny Cruz Saturday night.
In my post-game report , ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', I mentioned the awkward tackle and the visible concern on Mauro Biello's face when seeing his star midfielder laying on the field in excruciating pain. Impact fans were momentarily relieved to see Bernardello return on the pitch and continue for another 12 minutes before being subbed for Collen Warner.
As displayed in his tweet, the fact that Bernardello could continue on such a dreadful looking ankle is a testament to the determination and grit of the 27 year old Argentine.
Esta mejorando jeje. Minimo 3 semanas sin futbol !!! Gracias por Los mensajes !!! Abrazo a todos pic.twitter.com/wkdnMhGGN0— Hernan Bernardello (@HBernardello5) September 3, 2013
The keywords in the tweet are ‘minimum 3 weeks'. Based solely from personal injury experience and ankle injuries suffered by other athletes, ankle injuries can often be extremely slow and complicated to heal. A player might get back in the line-up and compete, but often it will take several weeks, if not months before he is back at 100%. Rush a player in too soon, and you risk re-aggravating the ankle.
How will this affect the Impact moving forward?
The Impact's biggest challenge will be to retain its recent defensive form that has seen them allow one goal in the past three MLS games. They will need to find someone that can try and match Bernardello's intensity in ability to assist the ‘experienced' CBs
Fittingly, Bernardello's substitute Collen Warner, might be the most natural choice in the Impact roster to play that exact role. Warner playing alongside Patrice Bernier, may finally get an opportunity to show Marco Schallibaum that he can be an every game contributor to the team.
If that fails, another option would be to retrieve back to the 4-4-2 formation that has often produced a love/hate relationship with Impact fans. The formation would allow Schallibaum to keep a central midfield pairing of Felipe and Bernier .
With no word yet from the Impact and no official diagnosis, Impact fans are left to hope that the tweeted three weeks is the best case scenario. If they are to make a serious run in the MLS playoffs they will need their designated midfielder to be back and healthy.
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