Thorns FC: The postseason begins…

…with the retirement of defender Kat Williamson…

katkat

…and the LCL surgery of Nadia Nadim.

The official announcement of Williamson’s retirement doesn’t specify a reason.  My guess is that the past season’s struggle with injury might be a part as well as the usual difficulty we’ve seen in making a living in the NWSL as an unsubsidized player.  Kat’s 27 now.  When you’re 21 or 22 (or even 25) the fun of playing a sport can overcome the hardships of living out of a small apartment with a roomie and eating ramen twice a day three times a week.  When you’re 27 or 28…maybe not so much.

Still…Kat’s loss thins the depth at the back that Thorns FC struggled with, most notably in the semifinal when both fullbacks had off days but Coach Parsons had nobody to throw on that gave him a better option.

Williamson was always a gamer, a player that, while she might not have been in the running for FIFA Player of the Year, left it on the pitch.  I hope she’s going out with her head up, and I’m sorry we didn’t know about this before the season ended.  It’d have been nice to have given her a special thank-you before the lights went dark on the 2016 season.

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Nadim’s injury is a bit concerning.  Here’s the summary of lateral collateral ligament injuries from the Cedars-Sinai page:

“Lateral collateral ligament tears do not heal as well as medial collateral ligament tears do. Grade 3 lateral collateral ligament tears may require surgery…Lateral knee reconstruction is an open-knee procedure, and is not done arthroscopically. The tendon graft is passed through bone tunnels and fixed to the thighbone and lower leg bone (fibula) using screws or posts or with stitches tied around a post.”

Forwards like Nadim depend on quick movement and shiftiness, and an LCL that doesn’t resolve well is going to give her trouble with that.  It’s worth noting that the Cedars page gives eight weeks as the approximate time for recovery for mild LCL tears and, obviously, Nadim’s is the “Grade 3” or full tear that will require a longer convalescence before she can resume training, so presumably no earlier than late December and more likely early in 2017.

Nadim herself – as a good athlete should  – remains positive: “When shit doesn’t go your way – force it your way!” was her motto.  Still…for all that you all know I had my issues with her form in the early part of the season she grew into her role and I will always treasure the Miracle against Seattle.  I hope her recovery is rapid and complete.

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This unhappy news does open the question, however: what, if any, moves can (must, will, should…) Thorns FC make in the coming offseason?

While we can open the discussion in the comments thread, but…just FYI I’m going to begin discussing the upcoming silly season in my Thorns FC post next week.

Let’s talk more then, shall we?

(Photo credit: the KatKat banner from Richard Hamje at Riveting!)