Key Matadors midfielder Rafael Garcia and senior forward Devin Deld’oacute; both have torn ACL’s and will miss the rest of 2008.
‘They’re out for the season,’ said assistant athletic trainer Erick Buitrago. ‘They’ll have ACL reconstruction surgeries this week.’
Garcia, a sophomore, and Deld’oacute; both went down during CSUN’s season-opening home loss to Georgetown. It was speculated at the time that their ACL’s were ruptured, but it wasn’t until now that the fear was confirmed.
Remarkably, both injuries occurred in similar fashion.’ Deld’oacute;’s right foot was caught in the ground as he tried to change directions running, as did Garcia’s. Both players were on the field at the time of the injuries, but neither one was hurt in an actual soccer play.
‘My foot got stuck in the field,’ explained Garcia at the time while standing in crutches with his right leg wrapped in a protective knee brace. ‘I felt a pop as my knee shifted and then it came back in.’
The ACL is a major ligament in the knee. Its rupture limits mobility. While a person could still be able to run in a straight line with a torn ACL, it would be a different story if he tried to switch directions abruptly, something obviously vital in the sport of soccer.
Deld’oacute; was last season’s goal-scoring leader while Garcia was defined as the team’s ‘quarterback’ by head coach Terry Davila earlier this month. Northridge had to regroup after the loss, knowing they wouldn’t count with two of their most talented players. It worked. Davila and the Matadors have pulled off three wins since the dreadful day.
‘(Deld’oacute; and Garcia are) good players, but we’re not a one-man show,’ said Davila, commenting on the winning streak despite being two starters short. ‘You never try and build a team around one player. You never do. This is a team and everyone needs to know their roles.’
The recovery timetable for both players is from six to nine months.
Deld’oacute; is a senior, but Davila said he’ll look into getting him an extra year of eligibility.’ Garcia still has two more years’ left at Northridge.
‘It’s not a career-threatening injury,’ said Buitrago. ‘(Garcia) will definitely be back (at Northridge) and definitely have a long career ahead of him.’
The athletic trainer also noted the oddity of two players going down in the same game with the same injury and in the same type of non-contact play.
‘This is something that just doesn’t happen,’ he said.
The Matadors sure wish it hadn’t.