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Orlando City's Kevin Molino limps off the field after suffering a torn ACL in a friendly against Brazil's Ponte Preta.

The recent Anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered by national midfielder Kevin Molino while on duty for Orlando City has left a dent in Stephen Hart’s team for the upcoming 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup and the semi-final round of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in November.

It is a dent that Hart and the rest of the “Soca Warriors” will aim to repair. That surely is not out of the question and not beyond Hart’s men.

But for Molino, his recovery will not be as easy and a lot will depend on the run of events of the new few weeks according to TTFA consulting orthopedic surgeon Dr Mario John who is based in Orlando.

“Most ACL tears cannot be sutured (stitched) back together. To surgically repair the ACL and restore knee stability, the ligament must be reconstructed. The torn ligament will be replaced with a tissue graft,” John said. Molino’s injury was a complete rupture, similar to what Marvin Andrews sustained before the 2006 World Cup. It is described as a “Grade III” where ligament has been split into two pieces, and the knee joint is unstable.

John explained, for the sake the athlete’s knowledge, “that you might hear a popping noise and you may feel your knee give out from under you. Other typical symptoms of an ACL injury include pain with swelling, loss of full range of motion, tenderness along the joint line and discomfort while walking.

According to information from the American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons, whether the treatment involves surgery or not, rehabilitation plays a vital role in getting an athlete back to their daily activities. A physical therapy programme that will help regain knee strength and motion is a must. John said that Molino’s physical therapy after surgery will first focus on returning motion to the joint and surrounding muscles. A strengthening programme designed to protect the new ligament will follow this. This strengthening gradually increases the stress across the ligament. The final phase of rehabilitation is aimed at a functional return tailored for the athlete’s sport. Molino is likely to be out of action for between six to nine months depending on his level of rehab. The player, obviously distraught over his current status, vows to come back from it.

“It’s a trying time but time heals and hopefully the surgery will go well and I can bounce back even better. The mental challenge will be a real test but I am sure I can come through it. I’m just disappointed that I will not be with the boys for the Gold Cup and with my club for the rest of the season. But I’ll be back again, I can promise you that,” Molino said.