Portland Timbers' team captain Will Johnson has undergone surgery to remove a pair of screws from his tibia after several weeks of consulting with team coaches, doctors, and a third party medical team. The procedure, Johnson told the press, was a minor one, but the midfielder was unwilling to give a timeframe for his return to the pitch, saying only that he hopes to be able to return for the end of the season.
Johnson, who was walking without any noticeable issues, is just over one year out from breaking his leg in the Timbers' 2014 match against Toronto FC and, while playing 17 games this year, has been slowed by soreness in his leg, causing him to miss several matches late in the year or be substituted out of matches.
Johnson's initial return provided an undeniable lift to the Timbers as he and Diego Valeri returned to the pitch midway through the year, but he is the first to admit that he was "ten percent" behind where he should be and struggled with the quickness of the game. He hopes, Johnson said, that this surgery will help him get back to full health.
In the mean time, Jack Jewsbury and George Fochive will continue to be the team's first and second options to partner Diego Chara in the center of the pitch. Of course, Chara is one caution away from his second suspension of the year for yellow card accumulation, so it is possible that the Timbers could be without their midfield engine as well as their captain once again before the year is over.