Atlanta United’s Greg Garza had surgery on his injured right shoulder last week to repair a torn labrum and will be out 4-6 months. Manager Gerardo Martino said he hopes the fullback can return before the end of the season.
Garza suffered the injury -- at least the third of the shoulder in the past two seasons -- during the second half of the game against New York Red Bulls on May 20.
Garza said weeks ago that he has a complete tear of his shoulder labrum and hoped to avoid surgery until his playing career was over. Martino said on Tuesday that there was no point in putting it off any longer. Garza suffered a dislocation of the shoulder during the All-Star Game in Chicago last year. He re-injured it in the game at Minnesota United earlier this season. He has been playing with a bungee brace wrapped around it.
Should Garza miss four months, he could return for the end of the season and the playoffs, which will begin Oct. 31. The championship game will be played Dec. 9.
Garza wasn’t included on Atlanta United’s injury report ahead of Wednesday’s game against New England because he is ineligible to play due to a red card received against Red Bulls.
Garza, 26, was on loan with Atlanta United last season during which he appeared in 26 games, including 25 starts. He scored two goals and had five assists and led the league’s fullbacks in chances created. The team signed him permanently in the offseason.
Martino said there are several players who can fill in at left fullback or wingback, depending upon the formation, including Chris McCann, Mikey Ambrose, Jose Hernandez and George Bello.
McCann and Ambrose have started at the positions this season. Hernandez only recently returned to action with Atlanta United 2 after suffering a hamstring injury during the preseason. Bello, 16 and a resident of Douglasville, is Homegrown signing who has yet to appear for the team.
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