Romain Alessandrini has been ruled out of the LA Galaxy‘s game against NYCFC with a right hamstring injury. The injury occurred in the 61st minute of Sunday night’s 2-1 victory in the season opener against the Portland Timbers. As Alessandrini accelerated into space on the counter, he pulled up clutching his hamstring. And collective gasp exhaled from the 25,462 fans packed into the StubHub Center as they feared the status of the team’s leading goal scorer from 2017.
Romain Alessandrini Injures Hamstring: What’s Next for the LA Galaxy?
The Galaxy have been coy with regard to updates on Alessandrini’s injury. However, they have stated that he will undergo further evaluations, but he will miss Sunday’s clash at Yankee Stadium.
According to Dr. David Ishii DPT, ATC, CSCS, owner of Synergy Physical Therapy, hamstring injuries and recovery timelines can be difficult to predict.
“Hamstring injuries are notoriously difficult and can plague a player for the remainder of the season if they are not managed and rehabilitated cautiously and thoroughly. Athletes who do not adequately rehabilitate the hamstring and surrounding structures increase the risk for potential re-injury or potential injuries at different points along the kinematic chain.”
A kinematic chain is a connection of joints along a mechanical structure. Thinking of the human body as a mechanical structure, certain body parts carry more weight than others. A hamstring injury, for example, connects to the knee and the hip. A player with a hamstring injury who rushes back to action risks a potential injury to one of these other structures.
Dr. Ishii went on to explain how terms such as “Grade 1” or “Grade 2” are used as generalities. Each injury is unique, and recovery times will vary based on many factors.
One potential risk factor is playing on turf fields. With the LA Galaxy set for away fixtures to Seattle, New England, Portland, Minnesota, and Vancouver (March 24), Sigi Schmid may consider continuing to rest Alessandrini.
Who Replaces Alessandrini in the Starting XI?
The obvious answer to that is Sebastian Lletget. However, he has not played more than 45 minutes in any game in nearly a calendar year due to a Lisfranc injury suffered during the USMNT’s 6-0 blowout victory over Honduras last march. If Schmid chooses Lletget, the Galaxy would need to consider his fitness. Playing Lletget too many minutes early in the season might place him at risk as well.
Chris Pontius is also an option, but he too is suffering from an undisclosed injury. Pontius’ status is a game-time decision.
Giovani dos Santos could also slide out to the wing. This would open a hole in the midfield that either Servando Carrasco or Baggio Husidic will need to fill. In this scenario, Jonathan dos Santos will step into the advanced playmaker role. Perry Kitchen would likely stay back and look to reprise his role from the Timbers game as the destroyer.
Ultimately, whoever replaces Alessandrini will have a major role to play, but unlike last year’s Galaxy, the 2018 iteration appears better suited to withstand the occasional injury.