DAVID SMITH - Friday, January 28, 2011
Eintracht Frankfurt announced on their website Friday that midfielder Ricardo Clark is expected to miss four weeks as he recovers from a broken cheekbone.
Clark broke his left cheekbone in training on Friday morning, and after an evaluation from team doctors he will undergo surgery in Frankfurt on Monday, with the estimated four weeks on the sidelines to recover.
After spending most of the first half of the season as a nearly forgotten man on Eintracht's bench, the veteran American international had seen a resurgence in playing time since mid-December due to an injury crisis to head coach Michael Skibbe's squad.
Departing from his accustomed defensive midfielder role, Clark had deputized in Frankfurt's central defense during the first two games since returning from the winter break, and put in one of the team's strongest performances in their most recent 1-0 loss against Hamburg.
While his newfound prowess in the back line had put him at the front of a fight for a regular starting spot, this latest setback could see him fall back down in the pecking order as other Frankfurt players begin to return to health.
Frankfurt has struggled in their two games back from the month-long winter break - both losses - despite ending the fall with a notable win over runaway league leaders Dortmund in mid-December, but their ninth-place standing still sees them in a prime position to make a run for a European spot over the final 15 games of the season.
The estimated four-week absence could see the former Houston Dynamo man available once again for the team's February 27 home game against Stuttgart or one week later against Kaiserslautern, however whether his brief but impressive run over the team's last four games will still keep him in Skibbe's eye remains to be seen.