Jermaines Jones has a Grade 2 MCL spain, the LA Galaxy announced on Monday. And while that seems like a perfectly normal thing -- unfortunately, players get injured all the time -- it comes at a very interesting time for Jones and could lead to a major change in the 35-year-old's career.
For the USMNT
Jones hasn't been consistently available for the national team over the last year because of injures. He was fit for the March World Cup qualifiers, but missed the first due to suspension and then put in a veru underwhelming performance in the second. His showings, and injuries, have led some to question his place with the national team ... and that his fit with Michael Bradley in the central midfield remains inelegant at best doesn't help.
Jones' knee sprain means he'll be in a race to get fit for the June World Cup qualifiers. Sebastian Lletget would probably be the man to replace him, but he's also hurt, so Bruce Arena has himself in a bit of a pickle. There isn't a clear replacement for Jones if he can't play. And there's reason to question if he can get the job done, even if he can play.
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For the Galaxy
The Galaxy are off to an awful start to this season and one of their problems has been figuring out how to fit Jones into the team. They've looked more cohesive with Jones out, but Jones has also looked like one of their best individual players when he's out there. That makes things very tough on manager Curt Onalfo.
Now that Jones is out for at least three weeks, Onalfo won't have to try to make his expensive midfielder work. He'll get to try for life without Jones and see if the midfield can function better without their best midfielder. That's an unenviable position to be in, but if they pull it off, the Galaxy will simply have an answer to their midfield woes without an answer for their best midfielder.
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Jones has been an incredible player for the USMNT, often underrated, but still the driving force in the national team's midfield. He's also been amazingly effective in MLS -- helping turn the Revolution and Rapids into MLS Cup contenders with dominant performances that made him among the most influential players in the league.
However, Father Time is undefeated and while Jones is one of the most fit players around, even he will succomb to age at some point. Is that happening now? While there are signs that is the case, it's still too early to say. But with the national team and Galaxy both getting a look at life without Jones over the next month, we could be looking at a time in which both have reason to move on without him.