Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez out 6-8 weeks

Sept. 18, 2021 - Atlanta, Ga: Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) attempts a shot against D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (24) during the second half at Mercedes Benz Stadium Saturday, September 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Ga.. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Sept. 18, 2021 - Atlanta, Ga: Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) attempts a shot against D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (24) during the second half at Mercedes Benz Stadium Saturday, September 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Ga.. JASON GETZ FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.

ExploreCan Atlanta United win without Josef Martinez?

Martinez flew to Pittsburgh on Monday to have his knee examined after experiencing discomfort while with the Venezuelan national team two weeks ago. The team announced the results of the examination Friday.

“I think we are very optimistic after his procedure was just cleaning,” Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda said.

Martinez’s first ACL reconstruction was done at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in March 2020. He had three surgeries in December of the same year to clean scar tissue and an infection. Martinez said last year that he briefly considered retiring then. Pineda said that Martinez hasn’t mentioned retiring when the two spoke earlier this week.

“I don’t want him to even think about it,” Pineda said.

Martinez has two goals and two assists this season. He scored 77 goals during the 2017-19 seasons and was named MLS MVP in 2018, which is when the team won the MLS Cup.

Pineda said the team expects Martinez to return to Atlanta next week.

ExploreMore AJC coverage of Atlanta United

Atlanta United has eight games scheduled during the time period that Martinez is expected to miss. The first is Sunday at Charlotte.

Pineda said that Martinez was experiencing pain before last week’s D.C. United game in which he wanted to start. He was subbed off in the second half.

“So sometimes when I read some criticism toward him, you guys have to take in consideration that he’s been playing with pain,” Pineda said. “And that is not easy. So we are hopeful that with the surgery, he can clean that up and hopefully he can be back to 100% pain free, and that he can be obviously the normal Josef Martinez that we all know.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 at Charlotte, 1:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN Deportes

April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., Peachtree TV

April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN

April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE